Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "These Forty Day"

See other formats

E 8 ft- 


BOOKS for Lent are traditional, 
rather like turkey for Thanksgiving 
Day; indeed, books might be called 
the true Lenten food. Very often 
hunger felt in the body begins in 
the soul Only sacraments and 
prayer, the ^ eady practice of the 
presence of Got, will satisfy hun- 
ger and thirsting after righteous- 
ness, but books may easily point 
LUC way. Highly spiced, intellectual 
dishes are not wanted; what the 
working Christian requires is sim- 
ple, solid fare prepartJ by experts 
skilled in day-to-day obedience to 
our Lord's command, 'TW^ my 
sheep." That expertness is abund- 
antly found among the faithful 
priests, bishops, and archbishops 
who have contributed to These 
Forty Days. The spiritual nourish- 
ment herein comes from many 
(not all) sections of the world- 
wide Anglican Communion ; in the 
list of authors, the names of the 
well-known are mingled v/ith 
those of pastors known chiefly to 
their own flocks; all are men whose 
lives tell their faith as effectively as 
their words. Their offerings make 
this book Lenten food for the soul. 






These Forty 


These forty Days* 

kansas city public library 

Books will be issued only 

on presentation of library card. 
Please report lost cards and 

change of residence promptly. 
Card holders are responsible for 

all books, records, films, picture 
or other library materials 
checked out on their cards. 



Lenten Counsels by 
Twenty-one Anglicans 


A. R. Mowbray & Co. Limited, 1962 

First published in 1962 

Library of Congress No. 62-12135 



Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. . . . . .115 

Robert R. Brown ...... 73 

Henry Chad wick . . . . . . 35 

F. D. Coggan ...... i 

Joost de Blank . . . . . . 15 

Austin Farrer ....... 83 

J. E. Fison 67 

Nicolas Graham . . . . . .127 

Darwin Kir by . . . . . .97 

Arthur Lichtenberger ..... 9 

J. G. McCausland . . . . . .41 

Russell T. Rauscher . . . . .91 

Kenneth N. Ross . . . . . .139 

W. G. H. Simon 47 

G. O. Sirnms ....... 59 

Charles Smyth . . . . . .103 

R. W. Stopford ...... 55 

Oliver Tomkins . . . , . . 21 

Peter K. Walker 131 

H. A. Williams . . . . . . 29 

R. R. Williamsi^y^ :;>'; ,;#J:J*,; ^.v& 79 



THE purpose of this book is to stimulate Lent reading 
among many busy people who feel they ought to 
mark the season of Lent in this way, but do not quite 
know how to begin. It consists of twenty-one sermons by 
representative preachers of the best sorts and merits 
within the Anglican Communion. Because the contri- 
butors include not only leading bishops but also experi- 
enced parish priests, from both sides of the Atlantic, it 
may be possible to obtain from their counsels a valuable 
cross-section of the Church's thought during the holy 
season of Lent. 

The book has no system, but the sermons fall naturally 
into place, either from the occasion of their delivery, or 
from the subject matter with which they deal. They will 
be found to be links in a chain from Ash Wednesday to 
Good Friday. As one might expect, there is an extra- 
ordinary variety of treatment and approach. Neverthe- 
less a balance has been sought, with a modest success, 
between sermons bearing on self-discipline and the 
cultivation of the virtues indeed, the practice of religion 
and sermons on the keeping of Lent. It is hoped that 
by this means freshness and interest will be sustained 
throughout for the reader, without loss of devotional tone. 
Appreciative thanks are due to the distinguished con- 
tributors who willingly consented to find suitable sermons 
for what they felt to be a book of some consequence. 

N. H. 



How Jesus Ran* His Life ..... I 

The Most Rev. and Right Hon. F. D. COGGAN, D.D., 
Arch bishop of York. 

New and Contrite Hearts ..... 9 

The Right Rev. ARTHUR LICHTENBERGER, D.D., Presiding 
Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. 

The Season of Lent . . . . . . 15 

The Most Rev. JOOST DE BLANK, D.D., Archbishop of 
Gape Town. 

The Temptation . . . . . . 21 

The Right Rev. OLIVER TOMKINS, D.D., Bishop of 

The True Wilderness . . . . . . 29 

The Rev. H. A. WILLIAMS, Tutor and Dean of Chapel, 
Trinity College, Cambridge. 

True Humility ...... 35 

The Rev. HENRY CHADWICK, D.D., Canon of Christ 
Church and Regius Professor of Divinity in the University 
of Oxford. 

The Observance of Lent . . . . . 41 

The Rev. J. G. MCCAUSLAND, S.S.J.E., Assistant Superior, 
Society of St. John the Evangelist, Bracebridge, Ont., 

Self -Renunciation . . . . . .47 

The Right Rev. W. G. H. SIMON, D.D., Bishop of LlandarT. 



A Forward-Looking Lent . . . - - 55 

The Right Rev. and Right Hon. R. W. STOPFORD, D.D., 
Bishop of London. 

Lenten Patience . . . 59 

The Most Rev. G. O. SIMMS, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin. 

The Gospel for the Third Sunday in Lent ... 67 

The Rev. J. E. FISON, D.D., Vicar of Great St. Mary's, 

What Time is it? 73 

The Right Rev. ROBERT R. BROWN, D.D., Bishop of 

'Come unto Me' 79 

The Right Rev. R. R. WILLIAMS, D.D., Bishop of Leicester. 

Continence ....... 83 

The Rev. AUSTIN FARRER, D.D., Warden of Keble College, 

Lost and Found . . . . 91 

The Right Rev. RUSSELL T. RAUSGHER, D.D., Bishop of 


A Discipline A Command An Assurance . . 97 

The Rev. DARWIN KJRBY, Rector of St. George's Parish, 

Schenectady, New York, 

The Marks of a Christian . . . . .103 

The Rev. CHARLES SMYTH, Sometime Canon of West- 

The Strong Man Armed . . . . . 115 

The Right Rev. STEPHEN F. BAYNE, Jr., S.T.D., Executive 
Officer of the Anglican Communion, London. 



Receiving Christ . . . . . .127 

The Rev. NICOLAS GRAHAM, C.R., Prior, Priory of St. Paul 
(London House of the Community of the Resurrection). 

The Point of No Return . . . . .131 

The Rev. PETER K. WALKER, Principal of Westcott House, 

Accepting the Cross . . . . . .139 

The Rev, KENNETH N. Ross, Vicar of All Saints', Margaret 
Street, London. 


The Most Rev. and Right Hon. F. D. COGGAN 

IF you want to see how Jesus ran His life, you will find 
it summed up admirably in the last eleven verses of 
the first chapter of St. Mark. It would be worth your 
while to read these verses over slowly and carefully in any 
version of the New Testament which you have by you, 
and then to say to yourself: 'This is how He ran His life. 
Is it a pointer as to how I should run mine ?' What better 
theme for Lenten meditation and resolve could there be 
than that ? 

'And in the morning, rising up a great while before 
day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, 
and there prayed. 

And Simon and they that were with him followed 
after Him. 

And when they had found Him, they said unto 
Him, All men seek for Thee. 

And He said unto them, Let us go into the next 
towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore 
came I forth. 

And He preached in their synagogues throughout 
all Galilee, and cast out devils. 

And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, 
and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, 
If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 


And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His 
hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; 
be thou clean. 

And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the 
leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. 

And He straitly charged him, and forthwith sent 
him away; and saith unto him, See thou say 
nothing to any man : but go thy way, shew thyself to 
the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things 
which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto 

But he went out and began to publish it much, and 
to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus 
could no more openly enter into the city, but was 
without in desert places: and they came to Him 
from every quarter.' (St. Mark i. 35-45). 

There, with three broad strokes of his pen, St. Mark 
delineates the pattern of the life and ministry of Jesus. 
We could summarize it like this withdrawal ; proclama- 
tion; compassion. Let us look at each in turn. 

i . Withdrawal 

First-century Palestine was no place of idyllic calm. 
True, Galilee in springtime was and is a lovely place, 
with its luxuriant growth of wild flowers and its shimmer- 
ing lake. But Jesus came to a land where there was no 
Welfare State, no Health Service of any kind, no pensions ; 
a land occupied by an enemy invader; a land where 
taxation was very high and fear was on every side. He 
came to His public ministry conscious of mighty powers 
latent within Him; conscious, too, of a vast work waiting 
to be done among a desperately needy people. He came 
as a great worker 'My Father worketh hitherto,' He 


said, 'and I work. 3 He came as a fighter never resigned 
to or acquiescent in the ills which He saw around Him, 
but prepared to go into battle against the evils of sin, 
ignorance and disease. 

Yet this Jesus, conscious of His powers as healer, 
preacher and teacher, and with the evidence of His 
powers all around Him in the healed souls and bodies of 
His friends, this Jesus used to drop everything and with- 
draw. 'And in the morning, rising up a great while before 
day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and 
there prayed.' He withdrew early, before the sun was up 
and the pressure of the day's events was on Him. He 
withdrew to a lonely place, partly because He was vividly 
conscious of God in nature, and partly, perhaps, because 
He lived in a crowded home and must needs be alone with 
God. 'What a waste of time,' we say. He knew better 
than that. He knew that power drained out of Him as He 
gave Himself to needy people (St. Mark v. 30). So it was 
that He established a rhythm, a pattern, for His living 
withdrawal before work; retreat before attack; renewal 
before advance. 

Nature taught Him the beneficence of that pattern the 
recess of the tides before their advance ; the sleep of the 
night before the activity of the day; the inertia of the 
winter and the opening of the hungry mouth of the fields 
before the quick and lush growth of spring and summer. 
And Scripture taught Him the blessing of Sabbath rest 
before six days of toil. He learnt the lesson well. 

2. Proclamation 

'And He said unto them, let us go into the next towns, 
that I may preach there also; for therefore came I forth. 
And He preached in their synagogues throughout all 


Galilee, and cast out devils.' John Baptist's preaching 
ministry had been silenced by his arrest and imprison- 
ment (i. 14), but the work must go on. Within our Lord 
there burned a great passion to proclaim the divine word, 
the only message which would meet the deep need of His 
hearers. So He heralded the good news of God as Father- 
love at the heart of the universe; and God as King law 
and order at the heart of the universe. Love and law, 
calling for the answer of love and obedience from God's 
people. There was a Kingdom to be entered, and its 
entrance might be missed. There was a heaven to be 
gained and a hell to be avoided. This was a Man with 
a message of momentous importance. 

A n( j this is to be noted, for it is in marked contrast 
to the prophets of the Old Testament and the saints 
of the Christian era the Man was Himself central to 
His message. 'Come unto Me' He cried to the weary and 
heavy-laden, "and / will give you rest. Take My yoke . . . 
learn of Me. . . .' In Him the Kingdom of Heaven had 
arrived. In Him man faced something greater than law 
or temple. 

3. Compassion 

The scene recorded in verses 40-45 is one of con- 
summate courage, physical and moral. To touch a leper 
was not only to incur physical danger, but to defile one- 
self in the eyes of those who observed the law. But when 
Jesus was faced with deep human need, caution went to 
the winds and compassion took over c He stretched out 
His hand and touched him' ! People mattered more than 
regulations, the mending of broken men and women. To 
that He dedicated Himself, till they said of Him, 'Himself 
took our infirmities and bear our sicknesses' (St. Matt. 


viii. 17). He never quenched the smoking flax. He fanned 
it to a flame. 

Confronted by this leper, there was that within our 
Lord for which there was no expression in mere words. 
'He touched him.' There are things which the lips cannot 
say but the hands can. The highest cannot be spoken; 
it can only be acted,' said Goethe. Hence the whole 
sacramental principle. Hence the Word becoming flesh, 
the Incarnation which is the acting out of God's love and 
grace on the scene of history. 

When Ananias, unwilling and fearful, was sent to Saul, 
who till so recently had been the arch-persecutor of the 
Christian disciples, before he spoke to him he put his 
hands on him. Only then did he say and what gracious- 
ness there was in the title! 'Brother Saul.' His com- 
passion, like the compassion of the Lord, came through 
his fingers as well as through his lips (Acts ix. 17). 

Here, then, was the pattern of the life and ministry of 
Jesus withdrawal, proclamation, compassion. This 

Was the way the Master trod ; 
Should not the servant tread it still ? 

i. Withdrawal 

'Withdrawal? Impossible! We are far too busy ! Leave 
that to the mystics and the contemplatives. It is not for 
the ordinary Christian.' Are you sure? Or is that the 
voice of 'our Father Below,' as C. S. Lewis called the 
devil, who knows that if he can ruin that, all is ruined ? 
The principle is easy to see. It is hard to learn and obey. 
But the virility of our spiritual life hangs on its obser- 

The student and the business man or woman can learn 


this by the use of an alarm clock and the expedient of not 
going to bed too late ! For the mother of a young family, 
where there is little or no help in the home, the problem 
is much more difficult. But even there, where the early 
morning demands on her are too clamant to allow of 
quiet then, she can generally carve out a few minutes, 
perhaps in the middle of the day, or after the children 
are in bed, for that withdrawal with her Lord, without 
which life can become barren, and tempers frayed. 

'But what do we do in those times of withdrawal ?' That 
is for you to find out and to work out. Apart from the 
work of intercession, ordered and planned, I would 
mention two things: fast, what I would call exploration. 
God is so great, and we little creatures only know the 
outskirts of His ways. The God of some of us is so small 
that he is not much bigger than ourselves ! But the divine 
Name (Exod. iii. 14) probably means, C I will become what 
I will become.' This is the God who increasingly reveals 
Himself to the reverent explorer. Wonder is akin to 
worship, and indeed is part of it. 'My God, how wonder- 
ful Thou art ... !' 

Secondly, learning to be quiet. We shall never stretch out 
a firm hand to those who are being battered by the storms 
of life until we ourselves have learnt to be quiet in the 
presence of Jesus. The emphasis of the Prayer Book 
collects on 'passing our time in rest and quietness/ or 
'pardon and peace, that they may . . . serve . . . with a 
quiet mind' is not a selfish emphasis. It is simply echoing 
the New Testament injunction to come to Jesus, to learn 
of Him, to take His yoke, and so find rest to our souls. 
That is the only way to a heart at leisure from itself. 
And only a person with such a heart can minister to 


We must pray the old prayer with realism and deter- 
mination : 

Lord, temper with tranquillity 
Our manifold activity, 
That we may do our work for Thee 
With very great simplicity. 

So we learn in periods of withdrawal, to press our 
weakness close to the divine strength; our sin close to 
divine forgiveness ; our ignorance close to divine wisdom ; 
our lovelessness close to divine love; our self-pity close to 
divine self-giving. We begin to find the secret which 
Mrs. Wordsworth expressed in the lines : 

I smiled to think how God's greatness 
Flowed round my incompleteness, 
Round my restlessness 
His rest. 

2. Proclamation 

'I'm no preacher, and never shall be. I could not 
preach to save my life.' That may be. But whether you 
like it or not, you are a herald, a proclaimer of your Lord. 
All Christian living is proclamatory. By life as well as by 
lip, if you are a Christian, in touch with your Master, you 
preach not yourself, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and your- 
self as the servant of His followers, for His sake. You are 
the bearer of a message which is the answer to worry. I 
do not find that worry has gone from the average man's 
life because the Welfare State has made his material 
existence easier. It is not so easy as that. A man needs 
to know God as Father before he can find the answer to 
worry and to fear. You are the bearer of a message 
which is the answer to sin, that radical self-centredness 
which is the curse of us all, that idolatry which enthrones 
self and dethrones God from His rightful place, which 


stultifies communion with God, and spoils our relation- 
ships with others. 

3. Compassion 

It is only another name for love. And love is caring, 
caring with the deep care of God, 

Love has been defined by Bishop Stephen Neill as the 
set of the will for the eternal welfare of another.' Note 
the stress on will. Love is an affair, not primarily of the 
emotions but of the will, so that we can love someone 
whom we do not naturally like. And it is directed to the 
other person's eternal welfare. So it may well correspond 
with the description of a Northern saint which ran like 
this: 'He was strangely austere, strangely tender; strangely 
gentle, strangely inflexible/ 

For this compassionate living, thank God, there are 
divine resources available. 'The love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.* The 
phrase 'shed abroad 5 is the same as that used in Joel of 
the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on God's servants. 
Thus God's compassion comes through the Christian to 
meet and to succour those who are in need, in loneliness, 
in distress. Thus gradually and bit by bit the marks of 
St. Paul's great hymn to love, given us in i Corinthians 13, 
are seen in us, and we become a blessing to others. 

Withdrawal, proclamation, compassion this was the 
pattern of the life of Jesus. In so far as the Church which 
is His Body follows that pattern, so far will it continue 
His work in the world. But let us not be vague and 
general. That means you, doesn't it? And it means me. 


1 'Create and make in us new and contrite hearts.* 


THIS is our prayer each day in Lent, our prayer to 
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who does 
not hate us no matter what we have done or left undone. 
God who loves us and waits for us to turn to Him. God 
who forgives all who are penitent and meets us with infinite 
mercy, God whose mercy is as wide and as vast as the 

So think first of this: of God's unfailing love for us, 
His searching, seeking, saving love. The most familiar 
picture of this, of course, is in the New Testament, in 
the Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son. The story 
begins with the younger of two sons who took the share 
that was coming to him from his father's estate, and left 
home to live his own life. He went to a distant country 
and squandered all he had in extravagant living. There 
he was. 'He had spent it all,' as our Lord said, 'when a 
severe famine fell upon that country, and he began to 
feel the pinch. So he went and attached himself to one 
of the local landowners, who sent him on to his farm to 
mind the pigs. He would have been glad to fill his belly 
with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one 
gave him anything. Then he came to his senses, and said, 
"I will set off and go to my father." n 

1 New Testament quotations are from, the New English Bible, 



Then, as you may remember, he rehearsed what he 
would say when he got home and stood face to face with 
his father. Have you ever done that? Not under such 
extreme circumstances as this, but have you ever turned 
back to one you had offended, or wronged, with an 
apology and plea for forgiveness all worked out in your 
mind husband, wife, parent, child, friend ? Not because 
you feared the consequences if you said the wrong thing, 
but because in this effort to mend the relationship you 
wanted to be sure you said what you really felt. Well, 
this was what the younger son did. He planned exactly 
what he would say when he walked in the door, c Father, 
I have sinned, against God and against you; I am no 
longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your 
paid servants. 5 So prepared, he got up and went to his 

But the homecoming did not work out according to 
plan. For while the son was some distance off, his father 
saw him. He was not only waiting for him, looking for 
him, anticipating his return, but when he saw him a long 
way off his heart went out to him, and he ran and kissed 
him. The son began his prepared speech, 'Father, I 
have sinned against God and against you ; I am no longer 
fit to be called your son. 3 But his father interrupted him 
and said to the servants, 'Quick! Fetch a robe, my best 
one, and put it on him ; put a ring on his finger and shoes 
on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us 
have a feast to celebrate the day. For this son of mine 
was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is 
found.' And the festivities began. 

Then we meet the elder son who was working in the 
field. When he heard music and dancing he was angry, 
and would not join in the celebration. And right here 


Is the point of the parable. It is found in the contrast 
between the way the father welcomed his son, and the way 
the elder brother turned his back on him. When this 
son, who was at work, heard the noise, and knew what it 
meant, he was angry and would not go in. There is the 
contrast. In the father, compassion, mercy, love: 'This 
son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was 
lost and is found.' In the elder son, self-righteousness, 
cold calculation, hardness of heart: 'You know how I 
have slaved for you all these years; I never once dis- 
obeyed your orders ; and you never gave me so much as a 
kid, for a feast with my friends. But now that this son 
of yours turns up, after running through your money 
with his women, you kill the fatted calf for him.' 

In that contrast Jesus tells us what God is like. He is 
not, He cannot be, like the elder son, He is like the father, 
the father who did not wait until his son had recovered 
completely in mind and body, until all the traces of his 
evil living had been removed, until he had proved him- 
self worthy of love. He ran out when he saw him coming, 
he embraced him, he brought him into the house. He 
did not wait for him to change his ways, he took him as 
he was. 

So God loves you. This is the amazing thing. As 
St. Paul wrote, 'Christ died for us while we were yet 
sinners.' 'Who for us men and for our salvation came 
down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy 
Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man : And was 
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered 
and was buried.' There is no limit to the love and mercy 
of God. 

This we must believe, otherwise we cannot open our 
hearts to Him, we cannot be penitent, we cannot give 


ourselves to Him. This conviction about God's mercy 
is, of course, a matter of faith. To believe that God gave 
Himself for us while we were sinners, that He loves us 
as we are, and wants us to come to Him as we are, this 
conviction is aot based on feeling, on what is called 
religious experience. God is merciful, full of compassion. 
This is His nature, and His nature is always to have 
mercy and to forgive. Whatever your failings, whatever 
your experience, believe and know that you can in 
complete openness as you turn to God say, 'Create 
and make in me a new and contrite heart. 5 And God 
will most surely hear you. For this is the basic prayer, 
not only for Lent but for all time, the prayer of humility, 
the prayer of the creature, the enthronement of our Lord 
and Saviour. 

And what happens when we do this? Everything is 
changed from that moment. When we are truly penitent, 
when we turn to God, claiming nothing for ourselves, 
when we say, 'Lord have mercy upon me/ we are in a 
new world. We have turned from ourselves to God. 
We have put ourselves in His hands ; we have entered into 
that relationship in which life has meaning. 

Yet in another sense we are very much the same as we 
were before. The perceptible changes in our lives come 
only gradually. When we pray, 'Create and make in us 
new and contrite hearts,' surely we do not expect that 
from then on we are going to be completely honest, 
forgiving, always loving, without envy or pride or selfish- 
ness. The converted Christian must be converted over and 
over again. We are not disobedient, rebellious children 
on one day, and then by prayer, or an act of obedience, or 
even by the grace of God transformed into faithful servants 
the next day. We are each day God's obedient dis~ 


obedient children. There is that civil war in us that 
Jeremy Taylor knew: 'I am not a man, I am a civil war.' 
And St. Paul, 'The good which I want to do, I fail 
to do; but what I do is the wrong which is against my 
will; and if what I do is against my will, clearly it is no 
longer I who am the agent, but sin that has its lodging 
in me.' The Christian is at the same time both a righteous 
man and a sinner. He has been accepted by God, but 
at the same time he is unworthy. To turn to God, then, 
asking for the gift of a new and contrite heart, means 
that we see ourselves as we are, sinners, yet accepted by 
God, as His children. It means that we desire to live as 
God's children, to grow up in all things unto Christ. 
It means each day to put away the old and unrepentant 
self and put on the new life which God gives us. 

It is like the marriage relationship. A man and a 
woman stand before the altar to be joined together in Holy 
Matrimony. At the close of the service the minister 
says, 'I pronounce that you are man and wife,' and while 
this is so yet that relationship has just begun. It must be 
worked out, achieved through experiences of joy and 
sorrow, of pain and failure and acceptance and forgive- 
ness. Throughout their lives the man and the woman are 
building, shaping their marriage. The relationship is 
not a ready-made thing, it cannot be taken for granted. 

So with our sonship to God, we dare not take it for 
granted. We have been reconciled to God by Christ, 
not by a mechanical, impersonal act, but by God giving 
Himself in love. Therefore this is a personal relationship 
into which we must enter. We are God's children. 
The Christian all his life long is striving to become what 
he really is. 


This, then, is the double call of Lent. First, to put our 
whole trust and confidence in God's mercy, to turn to 
Him as we are, believing that He is waiting for us, not 
to condemn, but to forgive and restore. We shall, 
therefore, bring ourselves consciously again and again 
into His presence both in the worship of the Church and 
in our own personal prayers. We shall participate in 
the services of the Church regularly, hearing the word of 
God, confessing our sins, receiving the assurance of God's 
forgiveness, partaking of the sacrament of our Lord's 
life, that so through these means of grace Christ's own 
life may be built up in us. We do this, of course, not as 
separate, isolated individuals, but as members of His 
Body. It is as Church, as the people of God, that we know 
and experience God's forgiveness and grace. 

Then, secondly, knowing that we are God's children, 
we do our best to live as His children. We see each day 
as an opportunity of offering our wills to God, however 
imperfect that offering may be, and we say 'Thy will be 
done in us as it is in Heaven.' We do whatever we can in 
God's name for the people around us. 

We do all this not with the idea that we may make 
ourselves good, and lift ourselves by our own efforts 
to that place where we are worthy to enjoy fellowship 
with God. This is unnecessary, this is impossible. God 
Himself has come into this world in Jesus Christ. He 
receives us as His own. Everything we do is our response 
to Him, whether it be for Him or against Him. And He 
waits, and will continue to wait, for our thankful response, 
so that we may live the life that has been given us and 
know who we are. 


c /.y not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness , to undo 
the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?' 

ISA. Iviii. 6. 

THIS is the first Sunday in Lent, and the season of 
fasting and abstinence is only a few days old. 
Although the practice of Lent is observed much more 
strongly in Catholic Churches such as the Anglican, the 
Roman and the Orthodox than in others, of recent years 
it has been spreading more and more widely in the 
Protestant denominations too. The observance or non- 
observance of days and seasons may have raised many a 
theological dispute, but few to-day would question the 
psychological value of setting apart a period of time for 
special training and discipline. We accept it readily in 
the realm of sport and athletics ; if we are wise we shall 
accept it as readily in the realm of the Spirit and of morals. 
It is more than likely that those who have come lately 
to this practice keep Lent more soundly and more pro- 
foundly than those who have inherited it from their 
parents and their grandparents. We have to admit 
and let us be quite honest about this there are far too 
many Churchmen whose observance of Lent is a fiddling, 
trifling thing not worthy the name of self-denial ; though 
we claim that the whole purpose of Lent is a denying 
of the self so that, more dedicated to God and more in 
tune with Him, we may celebrate more convincingly 
and more truly the Resurrection triumph of Easter. 


I make no complaint about people who decide to 
give up smoking in Lent or who bravely resolve to give 
up sugar in their tea. I do this sort of thing myself 
I think it's a sensible moral exercise but I cannot pretend 
that I believe that this by itself is bringing me nearer to 
God. It is not too difficult to cut off one or two shoots 
of selfishness which thrust their way aggressively into our 
consciousness and yet at the same time to leave the root 
of that selfishness well established and undisturbed. 

The Lent that is worth keeping, the Lenten rule that is 
worth making, is one that digs right down to the root of 
the matter, one that helps in the radical redirecting of the 
will with the result that the whole course of our lives is 
set more on pleasing God than on enjoying ourselves. 
It is honestly not much good giving up smoking if your 
temper suffers as a result; it is worse than useless denying 
yourself this or that harmless habit if it makes you impos- 
sible to live with. 


If we are going to keep Lent at all, let us keep it 
seriously, and let these days lead to a more thorough 
and whole-hearted commitment of our lives to God's 

Of course I know that there are gross sins of excess 
which must be forsaken if a man means to take his 
religion seriously, but I doubt if that sort of man will 
bother about Lent at all, and he will not be listening 
to this service. So far as those of us are concerned who 
really want to live as faithful Christians, I would suggest 
two pointers to a good Lent. The first is to think more 
of the positive than of the negative. The second is to 
think more of my neighbour than of myself. 


It is not much use worrying about what little habit or 
luxury we are doing without unless such a resolution 
leads to more direct and positive action in God's service. 
The ordinary churchgoer is probably much more in- 
different to the sins of omission than to the sins of com- 
mission and yet it is the lack of charity, the lack of 
justice, the absence of compassion, the absence of trust 
that bedevils both our own lives and the life of the world 
as a whole. What can we do to strengthen our love for 
God? What will help us to live more in harmony with 
His will? This is the kind of question we ought to be 
asking and answering as Lent begins. 

But it is desperately important to recognize that the 
fruit of a good Lent is not that I should know myself to be 
a better Christian at its end than at its beginning. Lent 
is not something merely for my comfort and my encourage- 
ment. It should make me a better instrument of God's 
peace and of God's love and of His reconciling 

Too many Christians are like little Jack Homer sitting 
each in a corner by himself and enjoying a private little 
religion of their own. They look at Lent and the Church's 
demands. They choose one that is not too exacting 
and they put in a thumb and pull out a plum and say, 
'What a good boy am I.' 


It is this kind of pettiness that makes decent, ordinary 
people with no very definite Christian opinions run away 
from the Church and the practice of the Faith. What 
the devil do they care that we should think beautiful 
thoughts that our consciences are easy because we eat 
fish on Fridays or renounce sweet cakes throughout Lent? 

And they are impatient with good reason and with 


good precedent. The greatest of all the Old Testament 
prophets had exactly the same idea. He was equally 
impatient and brusque with this essentially selfish 
approach. The Church in her wisdom has taken one of 
his great passages as the Old Testament Lesson for Ash 
Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Listen to these 
words : 

'Wherefore have we fasted, do people say, and thou 
seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, 
and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in. the day of 
your Fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. 
Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, arid to smite with 
the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, 
to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a 
fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict 
his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and 
to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou 
call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord ? 

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the 
bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and 
to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every 
yoke ? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and 
that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house ? 
when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and 
that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then 
shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine 
health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness 
shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy 
rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall 
answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. 
If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the 
putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if 
thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the 


afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and 
thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall 
guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, 
and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a 
watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose 
waters fail not.' [Isaiah Iviii. 3-11.] 

This is the call of Lent to you and to me. And if we 
were to take it seriously, the blessing and the promise 
would also apply. How often are we told that we are 
living on the edge of a precipice, or on the side of a 
rumbling volcano? People dare not plan ahead or even 
look ahead. The whole world is in turmoil the Continent 
of Africa, that sleeping giant of the nineteenth century, 
is waking to life and activity in the twentieth. 'But/ says 
the prophet, c give yourself to the cause of justice and mercy 
and you shall establish a society firmly founded for many 
generations' : and he goes on to say, 'you will be known 
as the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to 
dwell in/ 

Here we have described for us the moral and spiritual 
structure by which this world is ordered. And if we want 
to take Lent seriously we shall take Isaiah's words 
seriously. This is not something we work out in a private 
little religious watertight compartment of our lives. 
This is something that affects the whole of life the way 
you earn your daily bread, the life in your home, your 
political affiliations and activity, your share in the 
economic life of the community, the social services 

And surely we are not surprised. After all, one of the 
reasons why we keep Lent is in memory of our Lord's 
temptation in the wilderness. These were not what we 
tend to-day to call spiritual temptations one involved 


personal comfort, another the unjust use of power, the 
third political manoeuvring for His own advantage. 
And the disciple is not above his Lord. 

Yes, the keeping of a good Lent can all be summed up 
in the words our Lord used to dismiss the devil in the 
last of His temptations. Jesus says to him: 'Get thee 
hence, Satan, for it is written, "Thou shalt worship the 
Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. 5 * ' 

Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only 
shalt thou serve. To help us to this end is the true purpose 
of Lent. 


Text: ST. LUKE iv. 1-13. 

THE beginning of Lent is dominated by the symbol 
of the Temptation, but as it draws on, the symbol 
of the Cross overpowers it more and more, until at last 
it stands in the centre, in stark simplicity. But, the 
Temptation, like the Cross, is not simply a symbol. 
It only has power as a symbol because of something 
which first happened in the flesh of Jesus. This Sunday 
the Gospel speaks of the Temptation, and all through 
this week the Collect will hammer home those forty days 
and forty nights and the need for our flesh to be subdued 
to the spirit. 

So think of our Lord's temptation as it is to be re- 
lived by us in Him, that our life may be hid with God in 
Christ. In that sense, we too are 'led by the Spirit' into 
these forty days. Let us renew that self-offering to the 
Spirit. Let the Spirit hold you to it. 

The First Temptation 

'And He did eat nothing in those days, and when 
they were completed, He hungered. And the Devil 
said unto Him, "If Thou art the Son of God, command 
this stone that it become bread." ' 

One way in which my Lent at least differs from that 
of my Lord is that I am not getting really hungry. I 
confess that I don't even know what it's like that hunger 
I've had described to me by those who do know: when* the 


first faint discomfort turns into a steady gnawing gives 
way to no feelings but tiredness, sheer weariness then 
slowly the gnawing comes back, and the mind fills with 
thoughts of food, and saliva runs and still the gnawing 
goes on and on and all the limitations of a wasted 
body set in. No not many of us, perhaps, have known 
or ever will know, what thousands to-day know, and what 
millions in Asia never quite escape. 

But we are thinking primarily of the Body of Christ, 
the Church, and of our bodies as in that Body. And the 
first thing to ask is: Do we ever meet this temptation? 
How often have I heard and given sermons on 'Man 
does not live by bread alone, 5 But may the starving 
Christ forgive us if ever we say that before we remember 
that men do live by bread. 

There are some of you here wives and mothers 
who are less likely to forget this than we, whom you feed, 
you and your like. You know, you and your like, where 
business and art and religion would be if there were no 
regular, and indeed, tasty meals; you know how much 
time and energy there is left for prayer and praise after 
everyone has been fed, and the washing-up done, and 
the children dealt with and the clothes washed and 
mended. Oh, we all do our little bit, our token, payment 
with coal buckets and a turn at the sink. But, however 
much we do, it's likely to remain a token payment; a 
slight reminder of this basic fact. For we shan't even begin 
to share this first temptation with our Lord until we know, 
if not in our flesh at least with an ever quickened imagina- 
tion, that men need bread; that they have a right to 
bread; that Jesus bade us pray for daily bread. Only 
a Church which knows that men need bread, knows 
because it has been hungry in the desert, can tell men 
that bread is not enough. The Church to-day lives in a 


desert, crowded with hungry men, demanding bread. And 
not only because bellies are empty, but because they know 
bitterly that men who will not give them bread, will not 
give them anything else; will not trust them as men. 
All over Africa and Asia millions of men are demanding 
that self-determination which spells self-respect and which 
only feels secure when you control your own supply of 
bread. I think it is in this sense that Marxism is Satanic 
that it has deluded millions into believing that bread is 

What are we learning this Lent about Jesus' victory 
over the first temptation? We shan't even feel the tempta- 
tion unless our thoughts and prayers and purses are 
already on the side of those who ask for bread. Then, 
what does it mean to dare to go on to say: 'Not by bread 
alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of 

The Word of God a great theme ; but I would only 
say this now. Lay yourselves open afresh to the creativeness 
of God's Word . . . 'it shall not return to me empty.' 
Somewhere in there is what the Church has to offer the 
world which fights for bread. e Moi, je parle toujours 3 
Peguy puts into the mouth of God. The desert will 
often be man's sojourn; bread will always be his need 
and his right, whether he remembers it in his need 
or forgets it in his repletion; but always at every stage, 
the Word that proceedeth from the mouth of God will 
be needed to bring creative possibilities, to bring new 
life and deeper meaning into the ceaseless struggle for 
bread. To attune ourselves to hear that Word is our first 
responsibility, if we live sufficiently near to Christ in the 
desert not only to feel the need for bread, but also to 
know that bread alone is not enough. 


The Second Temptation 

The devil showed Him all the nations of the world.' 
The Devil is a master of generalizations. Often when 
I have made large speeches about the state of Christen- 
domI have been thanked for my masterly survey of 
the world situation, or for a helpful summary of the history 
of Israel, or for a brief and lucid exposition of Christian 
doctrine from gnosticism to existentialism. But it is an 
uncomfortable tribute. The Devil presented Jesus with 
a masterly survey of the world situation in order to 
point out that it all belonged to Him, but that Jesus 
could have it on terms. 

We have overcome the temptation to buy men by 
pretending that their real and basic physical needs are 
their only needs. But now, we must fight with this further 
temptation to gain men for Christ and His Church by 
compromising with the Zeitgeist, by adapting Christianity 
to the genuine spiritual aspirations of our time. 

The Devil is always whispering to the Church: 'You 
can have it. The whole thing is waiting for you if 
you have the sense to offer men Christianity on the terms 
which they like. See my success, 5 says the Devil. 'Now 
I'm a broad-minded fellow; I don't mind what people 
call themselves. They can all be Christians if you like. 
That's what you want, isn't it? And it's so easy. Accept 
my terms and it's yours. You've got to advertise 
men will believe anything if you tell them often enough. 
Don't be so old-fashioned. This is the age of Mass Man, 
isn't it ? Well turn Christianity into a mass movement. 
Use visual aids and the radio technique; get into tele- 
vision on the ground-floor. You've lost the industrial 
workers, you say? Get in amongst them put on over- 
alls; get down the mines. Look at the intelligentsia too 


just learn their jargon about images and archetypes 
and insist that Christian dogma has got all they are 
looking for. It's so fool-proof, if only you have the sense 
to do it. You don't really know your job/ says the Devil. 
'You've got to meet men where they are. Find out what 
they really want and give it to them.' O God, he's so 
nearly right. There is something in what he says, isn't 
there? How do we know? 

Jesus answered: c Thou shalt worship the Lord thy 
God and Him only shalt thou serve.' We worship a 
jealous God. 

Good. That's all right. That gets us out of that one. 
We'll make high demands for a high gospel tighten 
up on baptism; be strict about divorce; keep the Church 
unspotted from the world and 'Hurray for the rigorists!' 
All we need to do is the will of the One High God and 
serve Him alone. 

And then perhaps next week in hospital you'll meet 
a dying man faithfully watched to the end by the mother 
of his children who happens some years ago to have 
married another man who left her; you'll meet the man 
who has been in prison because he was so made that he 
yearns for men in the way that most men yearn for 
women; you'll meet all sorts of people who make it 
not-so-simple to say outright upon every occasion what 
is the will of the God whom alone we must serve. How 
do we know? 

Old FT. Kelly, the founder of Kelham, once asked a 
young student, 'Why are we here on earth, boy?' 
To do the will of God, Father.' 'Quite right, my boy.' 
And then the youngster, tentatively, 'But how do we know 
when we are doing the will of God, Father?' 6 Ah! 
that's just the giddy joke. We never do.' 


The life, that I live, I live by faith in the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 5 

By faith. The Lord our God is known only by faith 
we will cast ourselves utterly and only upon Him, trusting 
Him alone. 

The Third Temptation 

That's fine, 3 says the Devil, 'that's the spirit I 
admire . . .' And straightway he took Him to the 
pinnacle of the temple and said: 6 Cast yourself down . . . 
He will give His angels charge of Thee . . . On their 
hands they shall bear Thee up.' 

That is bitter. To have your very trust in God made 
into a temptation. After all nothing can hurt us; we 
are more than conquerors; all things are possible through 
Him that strengthened us; there is no condemnation 
to them that are in Christ Jesus. So we can safely take the 
dangerous course. We can confidently walk the tight-rope 
path of compromise; balance on the dizzy edge, yes cast 
ourselves over for will not angels bear us in their hands ? 
We need an heroic Church; we need to go out into the 
dangerous places, to experiment, to pioneer, to take risks. 

In T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral, after easily over- 
coming temptations to lust of place and power, to popu- 
larity and to reputation for statesmanship, Becket fights 
hardest with the fourth tempter who eggs him on to 
embrace martyrdom for the glory it will bring c to do 
the right thing for the wrong reason.' 

Jesus said, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.' 

Aye there's the rub. We pause, horrified on the top 
of the pinnacle of the Temple. We were about to tempt 
God; to try to exploit Him; after all, only to do what we 
wanted. Again Peguy, in Mystere des Saints Innocents: 


'But I know you ; you're always the same. You want to 
make great sacrifices to me, but only if you choose them. 
You love making sacrifices provided that they aren't 
those which I ask for!' 

So we pause, horrified, at the top of the pinnacle, 
and then turn round, shamefaced, and come down 
again by the stairs. 

But that is not necessarily the last word. Though, 
God forgive us, especially when we are no longer young, 
it often is. It may be we did not tempt God but then 
neither did we obey Him. 

Thomas of Canterbury was martyred after all. Jesus 
came back from the desert, but He set His face steadfastly 
to go to Jerusalem. Being tempted is exhausting work 
when the Devil left Him, angels came and ministered 
to Him and the next verse begins : 'Then Jesus came in 
the power of the Spirit into Galilee.' 

We must not evade this time of temptation, with Jesus 
in the desert. But, as for Him, it is but a prelude to a 
ministry of obedience. Its effect is not to overcome our 
enemy once and for all that it is not in our power, but 
in His to do. And He has done it. 

Its effect is to force us through the depths of being 
tempted to know where our only resources lie. This 
Lent will not have been wasted if, through your struggles 
and through your failures, through trying to see yourself 
in the Church as it is in our day, you come face to face 
with your only resources: 

c Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every 
Word . . .' 

Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only 
shalt thou serve.' 

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' 


Being brought again face to face with our only re- 
sourcesand that is why we need these struggles in the 
desert that we may be more ready to go out with Jesus 
'in the power of the Spirit into Galilee' ; in His own time 
and by His paths. He will take us with Him from Galilee 
to Jerusalem, and on through Gethsemane to Golgotha, 
and on again to the Garden of the Resurrection, where 
we shall meet Him, who never left us comfortless. 

The Rev. H. A. WILLIAMS 

IT is a pity that we think of Lent as a time when we 
try to make ourselves uncomfortable in some fiddling 
but irritating way. And it's more than a pity, it's a tragic 
disaster, that we also think of it as a time to indulge in 
the secret and destructive pleasure of doing a good 
orthodox grovel to a pseudo-Lord, the pharisee in each 
of us we call God and who despises the rest of what we are. 
But this evening I don't want to speak about the dis- 
guised self-idolatry which will be practised in our empty 
churches on Ash Wednesday. For Lent is supposed to be 
the time when we think of Jesus in the wilderness. And 
the wilderness belongs to us. It is always lurking some- 
where as part of our experience, and there are times when 
it seems pretty near the whole of it. I'm not thinking 
now of people being ostracized, or without friends, or 
misunderstood, or banished in this way or that from some 
community or other. Objectively, as a matter of actual 
fact, these things happen to very few of us. Most people's 
wilderness is inside them, not outside. Thinking of it as 
outside is generally a trick we play upon ourselves a 
trick to hide from us what we really are, not comfortingly 
wicked, but incapable, for the time being, of establishing 
communion. Our wilderness, then, is an inner isolation. 
It's an absence of contact. It's a sense of being alone-r 
either boringly alone, or saddeningly alone, or terrifyingly 
alone. Often we try to relieve it understandably enough, 
God knows by chatter, or gin, or religion, or sex, or 
possibly a combination of all four. The trouble is that 



these various sedatives can work their feeble magic only 
for a very limited time, leaving us after one short hour or 
two exactly where we were before. 

As I said, our isolation is really us inwardly without 
sight or hearing or taste or touch. But it doesn't seem 
like that. Oh no. I ask myself what I am isolated from, 
and the answer looks agonizingly easy enough. I feel 
isolated from Betty whom I love desperately, and who is 
just the sort of woman who never could love me. And so 
to feel love, I think, must be at the same time to feel 
rejection. Or I feel isolated from the social people who, 
if noise is the index of happiness, must be very happy 
indeed on Saturday evenings. Or I feel isolated from the 
competent people, the success-boys who manage to get 
themselves into print without getting themselves into 
court. Or I feel isolated, in some curious way, from my 
work. I find it dull and uninviting. It's meant it used to 
enliven me and wake me up. Now it deadens me and 
sends me to sleep. Not, in this case, because I'm lazy, or 
thinking of to-morrow's trip to London, but because 
it makes me feel even more alone. Or I feel isolated from 
things which once enchanted me, the music I play, the 
poetry I read, the politics I argue about. I go on doing 
it now as a matter of routine, not in order to be, but in 
order to forget, to cheat the clock. The L.P. record will 
take forty minutes if you play both sides, and then it 
will be time for tea. Or perhaps I've been robbed, robbed 
of my easy certainties, my unthinking convictions, that 
this is black, and that is white, and Uncle George was a 
saint, and what they told me to believe is true and the 
opposite false, and my parents are wonderful people, 
and God's in His heaven and all's right with the world, 
and science is the answer to everything, and St. Paul 
was a nice man, and there's nothing like fresh air or 


reading the Bible for curing depression fantasies, like 
children's bricks, out of which I thought I should build 
my life, and which now have melted into air, into thin 
air, leaving me with nothing. Out of what bricks, then, 
I ask in despair, am I to build? Is it to go on always 
like now, just to-morrow and to-morrow and to- 
morrow a slow procession of dusty greyish events with 
a lot of forced laughter, committee laughter, and streaks 
of downright pain ? 

But what I've been describing is the true Lent, the real 
Lent, which has nothing to do with giving up sugar in 
your tea, or trying to feel it is wicked to be you. And this 
Lent, unlike the ecclesiastical charade, this sense of being 
isolated and therefore unequipped, is a necessary part, 
or a necessary stage, of our experience as human beings. 
It therefore found a place in the life of the Son of Man. 
Because He is us, He too did time in the wilderness. And 
what happened to Him there, shows us what is happening 
to ourselves. Here, as always, we see in His life the mean- 
ing of our own. 

What, then, happened to Jesus in the wilderness ? 

I believe that in the later gospels the story has been 
written up. It looks to me like a sermon from an early 
Christian preacher, one of the greatest sermons ever 
delivered. But, even so, it can't compare with the stark 
simplicity of our earliest record. Here it is, and in this 
case at least St. Mark tells us more by being less talkative 
than St. Matthew and St. Luke. At His baptism in 
Jordan, the Spirit of God had descended upon Jesus, 
and in His heart there rang an immediate certainty of 
being chosen to do great things 'And there came a 
voice from heaven saying, Thou art my beloved son, 
in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the Spirit 
driveth Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the 


wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with 
the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.' 

If we say this is poetry, we're not saying it's unhis- 
torical, but simply that a bare record of outward events 
can't convey the truth about man, and so the truth about 
the Son of Man. 

What does the story tell us ? 

Notice first that it is by the Spirit that Jesus is driven, 
'thrown out' is the actual word, into the wilderness, the 
same Spirit which had brought Him the conviction 
of being called to do great things. The Spirit is ourselves 
in the depths of what we are. It is me at the profoundest 
level of my being, the level at which I can no longer 
distinguish between what is myself and what is greater 
than me. So conventionally, the spirit is called God in 
me. And it is from this place where God and me 
mingle indistinguishably that I am thrown out into the 
wilderness. The story of Jesus reminds us that being 
thrown out in this way must be an inevitable concomi- 
tant of our call to God's service. To feel isolated, to be 
incapable for the time being of establishing communion, 
is part of our training. That is because, so far, our 
communion has been shallow, mere pirouetting on the 
surface. We've come to see its superficiality, its unreal- 
ness. Hence, the feeling of loss. The training doesn't 
last for ever. In fact, new powers of communion with 
our world are being built up within us. We are being 
made the sort of people of whom it can be said, C A11 
things are yours.' But it belongs to the training to feel it 
will last for ever. 

And so, we are tempted of Satan. Tempted to give up, 
to despair. Tempted to cynicism. Tempted sometimes 
to cruelty. Tempted not to help others when we know 
we can, because, we think, what's the use? Tempted 


to banish from our life all that we really hold most dear, 
and that is love, tempted to lock ourselves up, so that 
when we pass by people feel 'There goes a dead man.' 
And behind each and all of these temptations is the 
temptation to disbelieve in what we are, the temptation 
to distrust ourselves, to deny that it is the Spirit 
Himself which beareth witness with our spirit. God 
in us. The water in the bucket of my soul doesn't look 
like the ocean. Yet every Sunday we affirm that it is. 
For in the creed at the Holy Communion we speak of the 
Spirit as He who with the Father and the Son together 
is worshipped and glorified. We say it, but every day 
we're tempted not to believe it. And this self-distrust 
conjures up the wild beasts. Sometimes they're sheer 
terror, panic, which makes us feel about the most 
ordinary undangerous things 'I can't do it.' Or the wild 
beasts are the violent rages roaring inside us, triggered off 
by something ridiculously insignificant a word 3 a 
glance, a failure to show interest in some petty concern. 
Or the beasts prowl around snarling as envy, hatred, 
malice, and all uncharitableness. 

This, then, is our Lent, our going with Jesus into the 
wilderness to be tempted. And we might apply to it 
some words from the First Epistle of St. Peter 'Beloved, 
do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon 
you to prove you, as though something strange were 
happening to you. But rejoice, in so far as you share 
Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad 
when His glory is revealed.' 

Christ's glory is His full and satisfying communion 
with all that is. It is the opposite of being isolated. All 
things are His and He fills all things. This complete 
communion springs from a love which is able to give to the 
uttermost, a love which doesn't give in order to get, but 


which finds In the act of giving itself its own perfect 
satisfaction. To love is to give. To give is to be. To be 
is to find yourself in communion with all about you. 
And this communion is glory. Christ's glory and yours. 
You don't have to wait for it until you die, or the world 
comes to an end. It can be yours now. Accept your 
wilderness. From the story of the Son of Man, realize 
what your Lent really means, and then the angels will 
minister to you as they did to Him. In other words, 
you'll find moments when giving for love's sake really 
satisfies you, really makes you feel alive and in contact. 
And at such moments Christ's glory is revealed, and we 
rejoice and are glad. We look at the travail of our soul, 
and are satisfied. Lent, we discover, is Easter after all. 


*Z)o nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than 
yourselves* PHIL. ii. 3. 

THE quality which we describe as saintliness or 
sanctity is elusive and baffles exact definition. We 
can talk round it, but cannot pin it down with precision. 
We can hardly say more than that we know it when we 
see it. It takes many different forms and the saints include 
men and women of all types. Yet there is one universal 
element in the Christian moral and spiritual ideal which 
by common consent and on the highest authority 
Christians have valued at immense price and which is 
accounted a constitutive element in saintliness. For 
other virtues do not begin to be virtuous unless they are 
conjoined with that humility which, in its freedom from 
self-regard, is inseparable from charity. This humility 
is the indispensable ingredient of all other virtues taken 
separately. Without it there is inevitably the superbia of 
human self-regard. It is the particular characteristic 
of pride that it feeds on the virtues and graces, and that 
at the same time it is the very negation of love or charity. 
True humility and love are only distinguishable in thought, 
never in action. 

The humility of which we say this, however, has to be 
qualified by the epithet 'true.' It is a humility best 
defined by antithesis to what it is not namely, those 
caricatures of humility which constitute so large an 
obstacle to the acceptance of the Christian faith in the 
minds of many of our contemporaries. 


Humility is all too easily transformed from a constituent 
element of love to God and our neighbour into an am- 
biguous quality of character. The mere etymological 
associations of the word are enough to remind us that 
in its origin humility speaks of the attitude of the under- 
dog, of the man whose head is bowed to earth in the 
discreet acknowledgement of his dependence on his 
powerful patron and master. It is the attitude of the 
slave or the serf before the autocratic, arbitrary and 
unpredictable will of the lord of the manor; and in that 
attitude there is always an irreducible element, in some 
form or other, of insincerity. In consequence, a humility 
of this kind is always and invariably suspect. It is the 
proper object of Nietzsche's torrential invective. For its 
characteristic note is a cringing servility which hopes to 
ingratiate itself with superior power by abject grovelling 
in the dust. There is in this kind of humility no element 
of love. The slave who lies prostrate before his un- 
predictable and powerful master is moved not by affection 
but by fear. If only he were able to carry through a 
social revolution, he would have his boot on his former 
master's neck. His self-abasement in the dust is both 
insincere and self-conscious; it ministers to the increase 
not of love but of hatred. 

In the New Testament there is nothing of this. But 
it is not to be denied that at some moments in Christian 
history the danger of distortion has become real. The 
Church's identification of its cause with that of the 
Christian empire in late antiquity created problems. 
Society in late antiquity was acutely class-conscious. 
It might be tolerable and intelligible for Christians to 
commend the virtue of humility in a patriarchal or feudal 
society where the underdog would be consulting no one's 
interest but his own by thus forswearing his independence. 


But in a modern egalitarian society, where everyone is 
as good as everyone else, where everyone drinks the 
same beer and plays with the same darts, such a commen- 
dation is potentially misleading and may well strike a 
false note. 

On the opposite side there is another ambiguity in a 
humility which is genuine and sincere and is nevertheless 
pernicious. For where there is humility that is heartfelt, 
it may be the expression of an ultimately pathological 
desire to escape responsibility. It may be rooted in an 
infantilism which makes us want to run away from it all, 
because we feel ourselves unequal to the burden and task 
laid upon us by providence. In short, a humility of this 
kind, genuine enough as it is, is an instance of arrested 
development. There is again no element of charity, no 
ingredient of outgoing love to our neighbour. It is an 
adolescent, immature withdrawal. 

And even after we have distinguished Christian 
humility from servility and escapism, there remain 
questions and difficulties. Certain eminent bishops and 
learned doctors have repeated exhorted the faithful to 
practise the virtue of humility, teaching that special 
merit attaches to acts of voluntary self-abasement, and 
therefore drawing up a catalogue of the separate virtues. 
The exhortation assumes that sincere humility is not 
excluded by the self-consciousness necessarily attaching 
to the deliberately chosen act or attitude. In fact, true 
humility is difficult, if not impossible, to practise. It is 
like purity: it does not do to think or speak too much 
about it. We all know how special efforts in self-denial, 
when undertaken for their own sake, quickly become self- 
assertion, and we may end by making confession of sin 
itself a piece of elaborate attitudinizing. 


Christian humility needs to be distinguished from any 
natural attitude and from any ordinary judgement that 
we may pass upon ourselves. It is radically differentiated 
from the half-ironic understatements of a man who is 
aware of his achievements and alludes to them obliquely 
with a becomingly modest and status-raising meiosis. 
It goes deeper than the Delphic recommendation 'Know 
thyself 5 ; for it is more than an acknowledgement of one's 
natural shortcomings and deficiencies, however grave and 
numerous these are. This is indeed the classical ideal: 
to avoid the arrogant presumption which may provoke 
the envious gods who love setting down the mighty and 
exalting the weak, and to pursue greatness of soul, 
magnanimity, free of vulgar ostentation and pretentious 
airs on the one hand, and of a mean-spirited, banausic 
attitude on the other, aware of one's limitations but facing 
life with courage and dignity. To the pre-Christian 
Greek mind, the term humility, tapeinotes, means some- 
thing highly uncomplimentary, a servility or small-minded- 
ness; and it stands in contrast to the proper recognition 
of one's own relativity. 

The majority of the Church Fathers were unaware of 
any profound tension between the ideal of magnanimity 
as set forth in Aristotle's Ethics and the Christian virtue 
of humility; several of them even claim that humility 
was known and approved by Plato (Laws yiGA) and other 
classical philosophers, and they clearly differentiate 
humility from servility. John Chrysostom states roundly 
that 'there is no humility that does not go with greatness 
of soul, no pride and vanity which is not an expression 
of mean-spirited small-mindedness.' There is in this 
formulation a natural synthesis of classical and Christian 
ideals; it implies a Christian humanism. At the same time 
the Christian fathers are aware that humility is intimately 


linked with the grace of God, and that in the New Testa- 
ment it is bound up with the response to God's love in 
Christ. In recent centuries the ancient synthesis has 
increasingly tended to break down. The sense of conflict 
with the Christian ideal has become ever sharper. The 
thirteenth-century controversy whether humility was 
really a virtue at all, which became a storm in the 
academic tea-cup of the University of Paris and resulted 
from the impact of Aristotle's Ethics, was but a prelude 
to the great debate of post-Renaissance times. In the 
general reaction against the world-denying temper 
of mediaeval Catholicism and puritanism, the modern 
humanist has tended particularly to react against 
humility. Humility's characteristic cry seems to be 
'Miserere nobis' Have mercy upon us, miserable 
sinners. But the humanist has wanted to affirm a confi- 
dence in the power of man to solve his own intellectual 
and moral problems, his independence of any recourse 
to external and supernatural aid, his conquest of the 
world not by withdrawal and escape but by engagement 
and frontal attack. Humanists have stood critically over 
against a faith that seems to value meekness and passivity 
higher than strong action and a mastery of the situation, 
and that so stresses man's fallen estate as to seem to lay 
an axe to the root of many noble trees, especially in 
respect of our ideals of education and the progress of 
knowledge. The humanist protest is an assertion of the 
autonomy of the natural life, and for this reason it has 
often looked for its expression especially to those elements, 
such as the dance and the drama, which in the past 
have never fully succeeded in establishing themselves 
as normal vehicles of religious image and symbol and have 
therefore retained a predominantly secular character. 


With what is affirmed here regarding the values of the 
natural life the Christian will profoundly agree. It is a 
corollary of the divine creation, and an acknowledgement 
of the worth and goodness of the Creator's work. But in 
that acknowledgement there is also the experience of awe 
and loving reverence which is indissolubly linked with 
true Christian humility. 

At Quinquagesima, both Collect and Epistle (i Cor. xiii) 
prescribe for our meditation the central place of charity 
in the Christian life. True humility is poles apart from 
either of its caricatures, servility and irresponsible 
escapism, precisely because it is conjoined inseparably 
with love. It is a grace given by God, evoked by a due 
sense of his mercies; and perhaps its nearest natural 
analogy is the awe and overwhelming humility known by 
lovers in gratitude for the response of their beloved. 

'Charity suffered long and is kind; charity envieth 
not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth 
not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not 
easily provoked, thinketh no evil.' Between this and 
true humility no distinction can be drawn. 

The Rev. J. G. MCCAUSLAND, S.S.J.E. 

'And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by 
whom we have now received the atonement.'' ROM. v. u. 

MY text may not be too familiar for a sermon on the 
purposes of Lenten Discipline. When I was a boy 
Lent came much too soon after Christmas, involving mite 
boxes, more church services, and no candy. About the 
only arithmetic we did which was not by order of the 
school teacher was the subtraction which told us how 
many days were left before Easter Day would free us 
from the tyranny. There is considerable evidence that 
the adults held similar views. Easter Monday, each year, 
marked the halting place in the growth of spirituality. 
On the other hand, the Bible and the special Lenten 
book were popular : the Study Group and the Devotional 
Nights were well attended. 

Since World War II the emphasis has shifted. In 
Canada and the United States Lent comes during the 
sporting season, and during the peak period of TV and 
radio specials. It is increasingly difficult to have the 
organizations reduce their activities and allow the church 
to be the worshipping community. Clubs and Fraternities 
have their important programmes during the Lenten 
period : it is often difficult for their members to emphasize 
their Christian obligations which interfere with the pro- 
gramme policy of these organizations. So difficult has 
(what used to be called) Lenten Observance become 
that one American priest in 1961 suggested that the 
Church should officially confine the observance to the 



last two weeks, i.e. Passiontide. If Lenten Observance 
is thought about, as an end in itself, this commercial 
post- Christian world will have its full supply of tempta- 
tions and frustrations to dampen the ardour of the most 
sincere Christian. 

But is there any need to be discouraged ? Not if we 
view Lent as Christians of the first centuries did. The 
Church of the first five or six centuries placed the emphasis 
on Eastertide, i.e. the Resurrection, Ascension and the 
first-fruits of these, namely, the Coming of the Holy 
Spirit. In the Middle Ages, meditation and devotion 
became individualistic and tended to dwell upon the 
physical and spiritual sufferings of our Lord on our 
behalf. In this rather lax age, we could do with some 
healthy reminders about what our Lord has done for us, 
and how poorly we have repaid Him. But continuous 
meditation upon the Passion, in its physical and mental 
side, did tend towards morbidity. It meant often that 
Easter and Pentecost were together a sort of anticlimax, 
instead of the central theme of our reconciliation with 
God, through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. 

Among the many things for which the Canadian 
Prayer Book Revision is noted, is the increased emphasis 
on Eastertide. At the same time Lenten Observance is 
given a definite but more corporate character. The 
first four weeks of Lent complete the basic training of the 
Christian soldier which was begun in the pre-Lenten 
season; Mid-Lent or Refreshment Sunday provides the 
final nourishment before our Lord leads us into the battle 
that is concluded by the Paschal victory. With the arrival 
of Passiontide, the Church takes up again the mighty 
Acts of Christ. It has been said that, although the Anglican 
Communion disclaims any attempt at special doctrines, 
it holds the Catholic Faith from God's standpoint, not 


man's, in the sense that, when we meet for worship we 
consistently and continually remind God the Father of 
what His only begotten Son has accomplished and 
completed for us, i.e. His mighty acts. This is evident 
in the Canadian Revised Consecration Prayer and the 
new Proper Preface for Passiontide. In both, the mighty 
acts of the Incarnation, Atonement, and the Outpouring 
of the Holy Spirit are proclaimed as the method by which 
we are united with our Divine Lord and made individually 
and corporately acceptable to God. But you may say: 
'What has all this to do with Lenten Observance? 5 It 
has much: the Resurrection of the Son of God is the 
greatest of all great Christian facts. Its purpose is 
primarily that the world might be restored to God's 
Sovereignty and that each one of us, in the Body of 
Christ, might be made worthy of assisting our Lord in 
the Restoration of man to God. The centre of emphasis 
must shift from self to Christ, the Origin and Crown of our 
faith (ffeb. xii. 2). It will be evident that Christian 
people have two divine duties: (a) each must use the 
grace given to make himself more acceptable as a member 
of the Body of Christ. This is spiritual health, i.e. salva- 
tion, (b) Then we must be disciplined members of the 
Divine Society or Holy Community so that the Captain 
of our salvation can count on the faithfulness and watch- 
fulness of His soldiers. Surely this is the basis on which 
all Lenten discipline depends. 

If we consider what the Church demands, officially, we 
may be surprised and chagrined at its inadequacy. We 
may get the impression that the Passion of Christ was 
highly dramatic play-acting, rather than sober necessity 
for a fallen world. What are a few less meals or some 
meals with fewer courses ? Is it not a relief to substitute 
a short half-hour week-day service for a much more 


costly entertainment ? We may even talk of stewardship 
and sacrifice when all we mean is that the wardens and/or 
the Rector have been very clever in getting those coin-cards 
and other devices into circulation. Alas! many church 
people think that they have accomplished a great victory 
for spiritual values when they have been coaxed into 
these not-too-hidden money schemes. The extra Service 
on week-days, the coin-card and 'no sugar in one's tea 5 
hardly begin to represent the Biblical doctrines of Prayer, 
Almsgiving and Fasting. In Holy Scripture, the art of 
Prayer involves listening to God, and telling forth our 
experience of Him, more than a list of wants and needs 
which we feel God should provide. The giving of alms 
in the Bible represents the unseen, inconvenient and 
unbalanced offering of money unbalanced because our 
right hand doesn't know what our left hand is about to 
do. It is obvious that 'alms' does not begin until all 
obligations are satisfied. The prophet Isaiah (Iviii. 5-7) 
indicated that it was better to fast from sin rather than 
bin. In former times, lax Anglicans used to welcome 
this text as an excuse not to obey the laws of the 
Church. On the other hand some rather surface-minded 
Church people felt that all was well with their spirituality, 
if the mechanics of fasting or abstinence were performed. 
Both sides were wrong: Isaiah's statements call for 
interior morality and reparation, but a genuine following 
of external rule would have assisted the progress of 
spirituality. Our Lord showed us the example by attend- 
ing the Temple and obeying the Law of Moses. The 
shallow Christian, obsessed by the niceties of ceremony 
or gesture, can hardly be the virile soldier of Jesus Christ 
because of the absence of mortification and reparation 
in heart and mind. 

Perhaps the most common fault, strange as it may 


sound, is the making of a Lenten Rule designed to be 
terminated on Easter Day, or even on each Sunday in 
Lent. A little thought will show us that this procedure 
does not make for spiritual progress, but tends to reduce 
the significance of Eastertide. If we desire greater 
spirituality, it is certainly useful to make Ash Wednesday 
a kind of key-point from which to launch our new spiritual 
flight. Let us make a basic rule, e.g. prayer, almsgiving 
and fasting with only the necessary detail. Let us keep 
this rule from henceforth so that the following Ash 
Wednesday we can build up on the past year's foundation. 
There is certainly something wrong with a rule of 
spirituality tried with more or less regularity for forty 
week-days, and then completely forgotten. Most rules 
are overbalanced on the personal side: what is needed 
is a sense of the corporate character of Christianity and 
the application of Christian Principles and Practices to 
the daily round and the common task. Recent Lambeth 
Conferences have greatly assisted the Church by present- 
ing, in general form, e A Rule of Life.' Lent could be 
used to begin a reform of Christian Practice according 
to this Lambeth Rule. Our renewed Prayer Book, in 
Canada, officially accepts this rule on page 555. 

The Anglican Rule of Life is based on two sound 
principles: (a) its provisions are in accord with the 
precepts of the Gospel; and (b) the Rule hews carefully 
to the faith and order of the Church. It is so easy to do 
good deeds and be kind on the natural level, but the 
Christian must be supernatural in his duty to his neigh- 
bour as well as in his adoration of God. A Rule of Life, 
below the standard of Christian Practice, as the Church 
puts it forth in the Prayer Book, really dishonours the 
Body of Christ because this laxity despises the revelation 


which Jesus Christ gave to His Apostles. Our practice 
should be up to the standard of the Prayer Book. 

In conclusion, let us take a brief look at the provisions 
of this Rule of Life. Regularity at public worship 
and particularly the Eucharist is put into first place. 
The adoration of the Triune God is the first duty of the 
baptized. Private Prayer, Bible-reading and the various 
forms of self-discipline are in second place. The Prayer 
Book Rule of Life does not allow us to be exotic and artifi- 
cial in our religion : the Christian must bring the teaching 
and example of Christ into his everyday life. Indeed 
there will be times (frequent enough in these days) 
when he must be a martyr for Christ, using the word 
c martyr' in the original sense of one who bears witness 
for the faith that is in Him. The layman must take part 
in the worship, labours and councils of the Church and 
his community, and he must make an offering of his time, 
energy and money. 

It will be evident that a somewhat negative Lenten 
Rule arranged to be thrown away conveniently and 
thankfully on Easter Day, fails to meet the needs of the 
Christian on his earthly pilgrimage. The Christian's 
marching orders correspond with his third baptismal 
promise : to persevere in the same all the days of his life. 

The Right. Rev. W. G. H. SIMON 

f Baptism doth represent unto us our profession, which is to follow the example 
of our Saviour Christ and to be made like unto Him.'' 


MEN have found many reasons for practising 
asceticism: it has been a constant feature in very 
different periods of human history and in all kinds of 
varying human circumstances, overstepping the bounds 
alike of civilizations and of religions. Some have practised 
it because they believed that the material world and 
particularly their own bodies were somehow infected 
with evil, needing to be rigidly disciplined and mortified; 
others because they believed the world was doomed and 
that the sooner they could learn to do without all its 
pleasures the better for them. Philosophers have prac- 
tised it in order to attain a calm and settled reflectiveness 
of temperament; athletes to win a prize. 

The presence of an ascetic world-renouncing element 
in Christianity is certain; it has been there from the 
beginning, and no Christian century is lacking in examples 
of it. But it is in Christianity with a difference. There is 
no pessimism in the attitude of the Christian to the world; 
for 'the world was made by God 5 , and c God saw every- 
thing that he had made, and behold it was very good. 5 
Nor does the Christian despise that whole complex of 
created things which we may sum up under the term c the 
flesh,' for c the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.' 
In no sense are self-renouncing or ascetic practices 
imposed upon the Christian from without; the necessity 



for them rests in the nature of the mystical union between 
Christ and himself, the union brought about by Baptism. 
Having been baptized, the Christian 'has put on Christ 5 ; 
having been baptized he is involved in the passion of 
Christ; his 'marks and his scars he carries with him 5 ; for 
he has been 'crucified with Christ 5 and now it is 'no 
longer he who lives but Christ who lives in him/ As 
the origin and power of the Incarnate Life lie in the 
Love, the Charity of God, so the origin and power of 
Christian practices of self-denial and renunciation lie, 
too, in the Charity of God, love of God overflowing into 
love of his world and all that he has made. One may say 
that self-Renunciation is as intimately and necessarily a 
part of Christian life and practice as our Redemption 
by Christ is intimately and necessarily a part of its 
foundation; Redemption and Self-Renunciation are 
linked together. Both have their origins in the New 
Testament, and both have been differently presented in 
different generations. No particular presentation may 
claim to be the complete expression of all the New 
Testament reveals about either; all reflect, to a greater 
or lesser extent, facets of the truth we see shining there. 
When Christianity became 'established 5 under the 
Emperor Constantine, the Christian found himself living 
still in God's world, but in a world which, though 
redeemed, was far from being consecrated. Too many 
people had become Christians without counting the 
cost, and the spirit of a quite unconsecrated world per- 
vaded the Church. Monastic asceticism was the answer 
to this ; to save the world, men must save themselves from 
it, and be free to serve God, that so they might be free 
to serve His Creation. This meant, indeed, material 
renunciations in the matter of food and comfort and 
sleep, but not the extravagant mortifications that were 

W. G. H. SIMON 49 

later to emerge. These early ascetics were very sensible 
and much concerned with Prayer and Work and Silence. 
The Prayer was very much associated with and wrapped 
up in the Word of God in Holy Scripture; and the Work 
was a practical necessity; they were not prepared to live 
on the world they were renouncing; they would work so 
as not to be a burden to others, and that they might serve 
others by their liberal charity. 

Now let us make a rapid journey through the centuries, 
as it were in a time-machine of our own invention. 
Standing at the entry to the Middle Ages we see Saint 
Benedict drawing up his famous Rule with work and 
prayer and charity and silence as its prevailing themes, 
a Rule full of common sense, free from the extravagances 
to which his Celtic contemporaries were sometimes given, 
and yet very demanding, capable of producing in those 
who followed it the greatest sanctity. Later the com- 
manding figure, if we can speak of so humble and gentle 
a character in such terms, was that of Saint Francis of 
Assisi, called amongst growing comfort and even luxury 
of living, to follow Christ in His poverty and His suffer- 
ings. But the Franciscan flowering for all its beauty is 
too brief; the Middle Ages begin to decline; and when 
they finally break up, monasticism is involved with the 
rest of Western Christendom in the general anarchy. 
Now we see the Church face to face with the New Learn- 
ing, and all that we mean by the Renaissance. Man and 
his achievements occupy the centre of the stage ; people 
look back more and more to the great pagan pre-Christian 
humanists. They still aim at perfection, but it is in human 
and not supernatural terms that they now think of it, 
and Christian asceticism reflects this change ; it is valued 
more and more as the ideal way of reaching one' s full 
development as a man. It is a time of systems and 


techniques for discovering the inmost workings of the 
soul, of pessimism about human nature. But it is also a 
time when the secular clergy and the laity come into the 
picture, when the ascetic life leaves the cloister for the 
court, and lives spent in the great world are yet marked 
by great austerity and restraint. The compilers of the 
systems and techniques, and those who carried them out, 
really loved God, and union with Him in Christ was their 
aim; it is salutary to remember that Saint Francis de 
Sales compiled his Introduction to the Devout Life for a 
girl at one of the most corrupt of French Courts. But 
they reflect the tendencies of their times; the old deep 
concern with Liturgical Prayer is missing; asceticism 
has become a special kind of life ; daily life is no longer 
seen as itself ascetic. 

The same defect persists when the Renaissance has 
spent its force and we move into a very different period, 
anti -intellectual, intensely individualistic, a period of self- 
sought sufferings, strange disturbing mortifications and 
extraordinary penances, of individual suffering accepted 
as somehow of merit in itself, of private and often senti- 
mental devotions of many kinds. Unfortunately, it is 
this kind of asceticism that still represents to most people 
what they understand by Christian austerity and self- 
denial, and it is not surprising that with the deeper 
understanding we now have of the hidden springs of 
too many penances and mortifications, the twentieth 
century has witnessed a sharp reaction against asceticism 
of any kind. Yet the seeds of recovery were soon planted 
and a way of renewal pointed out, for into this unhealthy 
atmosphere came the common sense of people like Saint 
Theresa of Lisieux, like a fresh breeze into an over- 
scented room. For them, Charity once again throws into 
relief the ascetic opportunities of man's daily work, and 

W. G. H. SIMON 51 

links them up, through the Liturgical Revival, with the 
sanctification of daily life through the Word of God 
in the Prayer of the Church. The Christian performing 
day by day, and so far as Saint Theresa was concerned 
minute by minute, the duties of his calling, giving himself 
to others all the time, is truly ascetic, whether he is a 
monk or not. We detect the spiritual kinship with John 
Keble, who lived by the Liturgy of his Church as vividly 
as did any desert Father, and sees his opportunities of 
self-denial around him every day. 

We need not bid for cloistered cell 
Our neighbour and our work farewell; 
Nor strive to wind ourselves too high 
For mortal man beneath the sky. 

The trivial round, the common task 
Will furnish all we need to ask, 
Room to deny ourselves, a road 
To bring us daily nearer God. 

From The Christian Tear 

For most of us in our times it is along these lines that 
the call to deny ourselves and to follow Christ must be 
answered. To accept what comes to one day by day, with 
the certainty of mortification that comes with it, to have 
a grievance and not to talk about it, to involve oneself 
sincerely in repentance as connected with it all; these 
may have no dramatic value and no one will deny 
that the dramatic has its value in this as in all other 
aspects of human life but they will be at least as difficult 
to achieve and at least as rewarding in the surrender of 
the whole self to God in love, which must be the aim of 
all true asceticism. 

There is here a danger, particularly when the Church 
is as involved with the world as it is to-day. The danger 
is that asceticism should take on 'purely spiritual' forms, 
and be as it were 'interior,' The danger may be seen 


in small ways in much of the attitude of Anglican post- 
Tractarians towards Lent, in their deprecation of acts of 
self-denial, or of the surrender of this and that small 
pleasure or indulgence, to which our fathers were so 
much given. Instead, we are told we must practise 
a 'positive' Lent; we can go on just as usual, simply 
placing more emphasis on prayer and the things of the 
spirit and so forth. As Pere Bouyer has caustically said, 
'The renunciation is interior: you keep what you renounce 
and you renounce it while you keep it.' This seems like 
the kind of spirituality which Saint Paul so strongly 
denounced, which held that the material world is a 
matter of indifference to the purely spiritual man. We 
must reply that the material is of immense importance 
to the spiritual and we must emphasize that it is impossible 
really to renounce a thing without actually giving it up. 
It is good to hear the point driven home by so twentieth 
century a preacher as Dr. Vidler in a sermon on Prayer 
and Godly Discipline: 1 'The main point about fasting 
is that self-indulgence always needs to be checked and 
restrained; for when it is unrestrained it corrupts and 
deadens the sensitivity of the soul. . . . Fasting, self- 
discipHne, self-denial, even in little things, brace and 
strengthen the whole texture of a man's personality 
and so make him better able both to watch and to pray.' 
It is from this point of view that Christians must regard 
self-sacrifice for others; it is from this point of view that 
they must look at their attitude towards gambling, 
tobacco, drink, and other social questions of the time 
where all of us are involved, and so much waste and so 
much sorrow follow for so many. 

We have already briefly noted in passing, the part played 
by Silence in the ascetic teaching of Saint Bernard and his 

1 Windsor Sermons, S.G.M. Press, 1958. 

W. G. H. SIMON 53 

predecessors. Here todayjoin hands, though from different 
starting points and with different aims, such unlikely allies 
as Mr. Lewis Mumford and the Dominican authors of 
Christian Asceticism and Modern Man. 1 c ln throwing open 
our buildings to the daylight and the outdoors/ writes 
Mr. Mumford in his book The Culture of Cities,* Ve will 
forget at our peril the co-ordinate need for quiet, for 
darkness, for inner privacy, for retreat. . . . Without 
formal opportunities for isolation and contemplation, 
even the most externalized and extroverted life must 
eventually suffer. The home without such cells of quiet 
is but a barracks: the city that does not possess them is 
but a camp/ e As the world is threatened by herd instinct 
and the pursuit of action for action's sake,' write the 
Dominicans, 'these must be countered by the building 
of individual worlds of recollection and silence so as to 
allow of thought and prayer, for as Lacordaire says 
"Silence is the homeland of the strong." ' One of the 
most hopeful signs of our times is the growth of the 
Retreat Movement with its emphasis on silence and 
withdrawal, not in the sense of retreat, but rather of a 
return to the fortress for the refurbishing of one's armour 
before one goes out again strengthened for the battle. 
We in Anglicanism are as yet far from taking it seriously 
enough; even amongst the clergy the need for silence is 
but scantily recognized, and it is probably not too much 
to say that amongst most lay people there is hardly 
any awareness of it at all. Yet few things are likely to be 
more beneficial to our work for God and man than 
greatly increased numbers of men and women who have 
learnt withdrawal from the noise and stress of twentieth- 
century life. They listen to the Voice of God in the 

1 Blackfriars Publications, 1955. 2 Seeker & Warburg, 1958. 


stillness of Retreat, that like John Inglesant's friar/ they 
may learn 'amongst ten thousand times ten thousand to 
know Him, and amid the tumult of a universe to hear 
the faintest whisper of his voice/ 

Our Work, our Prayer, our Silence provide us with 
the material on which in Lent we may examine ourselves 
as to our share in the life of self-denial and sacrifice 
which are part of our Christian calling, which is, 'to 
follow the example of our Saviour Christ and to be made 
like unto Him,' as we go about our daily duties in c that 
state of life unto which it shall please God to call us.' 

1 J. H. Shorthouse, John Inglesant. Macmillan, 19124, p. 400. 

The Right Rev. and Right Hon. R. W. STOPFORD 

* With all these witnesses to faith around us like a cloud., we must throw off 
every encumbrance, every sin to which we cling, and run with resolution the race for 
which we are entered. 9 HEB. xii. i. 

|^HRISTIANITYis an historical religion. We believe 
V^ and our belief is firmly rooted in the Bible that 
at certain times, which can be dated, God has acted in a 
clear and decisive way. Above all, and this is central 
to our Christian faith, we believe that in the Incarnation 
of Jesus Christ God broke into history Tor us men and 
for our salvation.' But our faith is also that God still acts. 
So it is that Christianity, though rooted in history is 
also essentially forward-looking. We respect and value 
tradition because it gives us a firm and secure starting- 
point for fresh endeavour. Yet, on the other hand, we 
cannot be satisfied with mere tradition because we believe 
that the Holy Spirit is always leading us into fresh under- 
standing of truth in its fullness. 

We can apply this in many ways, but it has a particular 
application to Lent. By tradition the season of Lent is a 
time for self-examination and self-discipline. But if we 
keep Lent in this way only because it is traditional to 
do so, if we c give up some things for Lent,' as the saying 
is, only as a traditional token, it is extremely unlikely 
that it will do much good to us or to anyone else. But 
we can keep Lent in a forward-looking way, and that is 
surely what God means us to do. In Lent we think 
particularly of our Lord's temptations but those tempta- 
tions all look forward to His Ministry and His Cross, 



and if we try, in Lent, to follow Jesus into the wilderness 
we must be looking forward to our own discipleship and 

Jesus was tempted to use wrong means in his Messiah- 
ship, and we all experience the same kind of temptation 
when we try to live our lives as Christians. The first 
temptation was to put material things first in His affec- 
tion to use spiritual power to turn stones into bread. 
But spiritual power cannot be used in that way without 
ceasing to be spiritual. The next temptation was to draw 
men to Himself by a display of spiritual power. But 
spiritual power is not for display. The last temptation 
was to use the wrong means to attain the right end, 
and we are very often, in various ways, exposed to that 
temptation in our daily occupations. We need to remem- 
ber, what Jesus said so emphatically, that God alone 
can be the object of worship and that if we use the wrong 
means we cannot attain the right end. 

Again and again Jesus taught this same lesson. He 
attacked the Pharisees because they fasted for the sake 
of fasting and because they tried to win popular approval 
by appearing to fast. Our Lord tells us to fast indeed 
He assumes that we will but He tells us also to hide 
from other people what we are doing. He bids us to fast 
and to discipline ourselves in order that we become 
spiritually more fit and better able to do God's will 
and for no other purpose. The Collect for the first 
Sunday in Lent picks up the same lesson 'Give us 
grace to use such abstinence . . . that we may ever obey 
Thy godly motions. 3 There is a very short prayer which 
many people find it helpful to use all through Lent 
which has the same emphasis : 'Lord help us to be masters 
of ourselves that we may be the servants of others.' 


Involved in the idea of fasting and abstinence and self- 
control must be a realistic appraisal of our own sins and 
shortcomings. Unless we are honest enough with our- 
selves to know where we fall short we cannot serve God 
or our neighbour as we should. Part of our Lenten 
self-denial must, therefore, be self-examination. But it is 
very easy to make this backward-looking rather than 
forward-looking, to dwell so much on our own sinfulness 
that we become morbidly preoccupied with it, instead of 
searching out our sins in order that through repentance 
and faith we may conquer them. 

The passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews which I 
took as my text makes this same point. With the support 
of the faithful of the past who as witnesses surround us 
like a cloud we are to throw off every encumbrance 
and like an athlete preparing for a race we must get 
rid of everything which gets in our way like the sins to 
which we cling in order that we may run with resolution 
the race for which we are entered. The test of everything 
we do in Lent then is whether it is forward-looking, and 
whether it will help us to run the race better or not. 

The negative attitude of doing without something in 
Lent has its value as a kind of self-imposed discipline. 
But if we emphasize this attitude too much we can easily 
produce the wrong result. I would like to suggest, 
however, that it is far better to have a positive discipline. 
Instead of doing without something to do something 
we know we ought to do but do not like doing. It is far 
more than just playing with words to suggest that it is 
better for us to say I will be good-tempered' than to say 
e l will try to stop being bad-tempered. 5 It is better to 
force ourselves to unselfish actions than merely to curb 
our selfishness. 


And just because our Lenten discipline is not to be 
for ourselves alone not merely to save our own souls 
but that we may do God's will more effectively, it is very 
important that Lent should be a season of corporate 
discipline also. Every congregation has a corporate 
responsibility within the society in which it is set. We 
have the responsibility of being ambassadors of Christ 
commending our faith and our worship by the quality 
of our lives and the reality of the worship we offer to God. 
So we have to examine the life of the congregation as a 
corporate body. Is the P.C.C. always on its guard against 
yielding to the temptations which Jesus faced in the 
wilderness? Is there a fellowship in the congregation 
in which we do really regard ourselves as members one 
of another, in honour preferring each other. Do we 
within it find it easy to speak the truth in love ? Are we 
showing to other people the outward signs of the Body of 
Christ which the Church claims to be? 

Then we must make our corporate resolutions to be 
more faithful in worship, to be more sensitive to the needs 
of others within the fellowship and outside, to be more 
ready to accept personal responsibility both within the 
family of the Church and within the society for which we 
live. That is the race for which we are entered, and for 
which we must always be in training. 

But even that we cannot do by ourselves. We must 
know where we are trying to go and the writer of Hebrews 
in the words which follow my text gives the answer: 'Our 
eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom faith depends from start to 

The Most Rev. G. O. SIMMS 

* In your patience possess ye your souls .' ST. LUKE xxi. 19. 

LONG and testing was the time of our Lord's wander- 
ing in the wilderness. There He was alone with 
Himself and His thoughts, hungry and tired. Just at 
that point and in that condition temptation confronted 
Him, recommending an end to the tedium of waiting 
and the long period of preparation. 

Yet He was ready for the tempter, armed with the 
words of faith. Apparently vulnerable, from bodily 
weakness and weariness, Christ had been found spiritually 
fit and all the more firmly fixed in the habits of obedience 
to the will of His Father. 

The Christian Church in her wisdom has appointed 
long periods of preparation to precede the short festival 
seasons. In the drawn-out, bleak days of spiritual training 
are laid the foundations of such lasting qualities of the 
spirit as endurance, patience and acceptance. Perhaps 
in her wisdom also, the Church has assigned without a 
major festival a lengthy and somewhat unrelieved portion 
of the year to a series of Sundays after Trinity. For our 
own lives are, for the most part, marked by a fair measure 
of monotony and uneventful routine. It is true that there 
are special occasions, those sparkling moments of achieve- 
ment and rejoicing; but often these have had for their 
prelude long and anxious times of effort, of suffering, of 
compulsory and voluntary discipline. Misleading are 
those headlines in the press which suggest that something 



sensational and newsy happens to us every day. In point 
of fact, there is very little in the lives of most of us which is 
worth printing. Even in a world crisis, while the few 
make the news, the many are occupied, admittedly at a 
quickened pace, with preparations, anticipations, and 
the strains of waiting. 

Those who live in the faith of Christ learn gradually 
how to use their days, not caring in the long run whether 
they are times of excitement or drab routine. Their 
lessons are learned in the school of patience. Christ 
Himself provides the outstanding and unblemished 
example of patience. It might be said that He minted 
the word, for ever since He used it, its value and influence 
have become quite distinctive. 

The patience of Christ, so closely linked with His 
obedience and humility, was no colourless, lifelessly 
passive, sluggish submissiveness. It was more like a 
weapon which He unsheathed to reveal His purpose, 
wielded as He exercised His will at a definite single 

He was tempted by the Tempter. Yet for each tempta- 
tion He had an answer from the Scriptures. He was 
assailed with suggestions which concerned the world 
and the winning of it, the plans nearest to His heart; 
yet with words which sound impatient He makes His 
decision with finality: 'Get thee behind me, Satan; 
for it is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' 
These words sound impatient, but in reality they are 
deeply patient. Patience does not mean docility and 
meekness, but steady purposefulness and resolution to 
live to the end, faithful and unflinching. 

Yet, hard on Himself, Christ was wonderfully lenient 
towards the faults of others. Loving even those who 
betrayed Him, He loved them to the end. Not that there 

G. O. SIMMS 61 

was in His patience any spirit of compromise, any tempor- 
izing, but more because with a firm resolve to be faithful 
to the end, come what may. He paid little attention to 
His own feelings, even if injured by foe or friend. Patiently 
he sought to do His Father's work with a devotion which 
would not grow cold when rejected, but would redeem. 

When St. Peter, denying his Lord at the blazing fire 
in the hall,, said, 'Woman, I know Him not,' the rejoinder 
from Jesus was not a self-regarding C I told you so.' We 
read differently that e the Lord turned and looked upon 
Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord.' 
Here was redemptive patience at work, for the eye of 
Peter's Lord lightened his darkness,' and he went out 
and wept bitterly. 

Such was His patience towards His friend. On the 
Cross He was patient with His enemies. He did not make 
light of the agonies of crucifixion : the cry 'My God, My 
God' makes this sufficiently clear. A strong patience 
shone through the scene of hate and persecution. In 
the face of the opposition, the jealousy, the petulant 
impatience of the men who crucified Him, Jesus did not 
feebly acquiesce. He showed an active positive love as 
He prayed and went on patiently praying 'Father, for- 
give them, for they know not what they do.' Helpless in 
hands and feet, He Himself was in control of the ugly 

The whole Bible presents in its different portions the 
tale of patience seen as endurance and purposeful action 
under the providence of Him who is boldly called c the 
God of patience.' In the Authorized Version of the Old 
Testament not once is the word 'patience' mentioned, not 
even in the Book of Job. Only three times does the word 
occur in the Gospels; significantly enough, in the 


later books of the New Testament it appears some forty- 
five times. The writers of the early Church looked back 
over the shattering events of their lifetime's experience, 
the Birth, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of their 
Lord and Master, and understood in terms of a very 
wonderful and unusual patience the story of God's 
dealings with men and women. As they pondered on 
the patience of their Lord they prayed that this spiritual 
quality might mark their own lives. 

The disciples and friends of Christ had been charac- 
teristically impatient. They had sought for signs, they 
had asked fire to come down from heaven to vindicate 
the righteous cause. They had eagerly expected a second 
coming in their own lifetime. Ultimately they learned 
the lesson of patience. In the last book of the Bible 
with its background of imperial persecution, we read 
more than once of c the patience of the saints' and perceive 
in the phrase the note of victory. 

Pointedly enough the word 'patience' appears at the 
close of the explanation of the parable of the sower. 
The Word which is the seed does not show itself above the 
surface all at once, but keeps its worth hidden, to ger- 
minate and to bring forth fruit with patience, in due 
course, in ground well prepared. In spite of the miracles, 
there was little that was spectacular or sensational in 
Christ's life. His humility and spiritual power were great 
reserves upon which those who stayed with Him learned 
to draw. These reserves the crowds which passed by 
failed to notice. Yet the fruit of His life, lived with its 
disappointments and its pathetic immediate results, 
undoubtedly ripened and became far more bountiful 
by this slower and more mysterious method of hidden 

G. O. SIMMS 63 

We might ask quite justifiably why God should bring 
the good news of His love for us in this strange and 
complicated guise. Why do we hark back to Abraham 
and the promised land, to Moses and the Exodus, to 
the story of a people in captivity, and to the expectation 
of a Messiah? Then why was Palestine chosen as the 
scene of the life of Jesus? and why a crucifixion? Are 
there not simpler and less ambiguous ways of making 
God's will known? Would not a more obviously probable 
and more patently victorious message have rescued the 
world from its predicaments and multiplied the number 
of believers, ten and twenty times over ? 

The key to the answer to queries of this sort is to be 
found in the patience of the patriarchs and the prophets, 
in the patience of Jesus, and in that strange blend of love 
and suffering which we find repeatedly in the lives of 
the heroes of the Christian Church in both ancient and 
modern times. Biblical patience is distinctive: it did not 
appear to mark the life 'of the Greek and the Roman 
who did not always see the point in enduring to the end ; 
neither was this kind of patience practised by the world- 
denying Far-eastern mystic. Biblical patience was not 
the kind to sit on a monument. Consider two examples 
from the Old Testament from the lives of Jacob and Job : 
at first we are faced with something akin to impatience. 

'Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they 
seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had 
to her. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my 
wife . . . and it came to pass in the evening that Laban 
took Leah his daughter and brought her to him. And 
Jacob said to Laban, What is this that thou hast done 
unto me ? did I not serve with thee for Rachel ? where- 
fore hast thou beguiled me?' 


However, in spite of his impatient tone, he perseveres, 
and both his place in history and his function among 
the chosen people are maintained through the vicissitudes, 
wrestlings, deceptions and conflicts which we associate 
with this colourful patriarch. 

Job also is patient in the sense that he endures to the 
end with fortitude, with faith unimpaired. Yet the 
language he uses when bewailing his lot is scarcely that 
of the calm Stoic or of the ascetic trained to a life of 
resignation : 

e After this, opened Job his mouth and cursed his 
day, and Job spake and said. Let the day perish 
wherein I was born. Why is light given to a man whose 
way is hid and whom God hath hedged in? For my 
sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are 
poured out like the waters. 5 

'In your patience possess ye your souls. 5 This sentence 
was uttered while our Lord outlined a future that was 
dark and uncertain. There was urgency in his message, 
but not the urgency of panic. For the patience which is 
informed by faith and issues in purpose belongs to a 
chain-series of spiritual moods : 

tribulation worketh patience 
and patience, experience, 
and experience, hope. 

This is the pattern of our lives, the mirror of our 
soul's pilgrimage. 

If we face the forty days patiently, entering into the 
experience of the whole Church with dedication and 
whole-heartedness, we shall find strength in the length of 
Lent. As the weeks of the penitential season progress, 
we will do well to have a mind not only to abstinence 
from the little luxuries, but also to a practice of fresh 

G. O. SIMMS 65 

thinking and further reading. From ancient times it has 
been a godly custom in Lent to seek to kindle in the soul 
a special yearning for the things of God. 

Such things are imparted slowly even to the most 
responsive. The great Leo in the fifth century made 
reference in his Lenten sermons to the importance of 
receiving biblical and doctrinal instruction amid the 
pressures of a hostile world. Baron Friedrich von Hugel 
put the point in another way. In one of his famous letters 
to his niece, he announced that he was going to give up 
buying books and hothouse fruit for Lent. He pro- 
ceeded, however, to furnish the same niece with a 
formidable reading list for her own spiritual profit during 
the forty days. Her uncle added, I want to prepare you, 
to organize you for life, for illness, for crisis and death. 5 

Lenten reading should have about it something of that 
large purpose outlined by the Baron without slavishly 
copying his somewhat alarming programme. At a 
difficult stage in the long, lean season when spirits are 
flagging, meditative, patient reading can rescue us. 
Reading, story-telling, conferences, or 'collations' have 
for long been Lenten activities. In the old days, a young 
Christian disciple would often turn from his reading of 
the Scriptures to a more experienced brother in the faith 
and say 'Give me a word by which I may live.' Spiritual 
problems and their solution were handled in this way 
by the early Christian fathers in the desert and elsewhere. 
Through reading and meditating and special study of 
one particular aspect of the Faith, Christians sharpened 
their spiritual vision and deepened the longings of their 

If anyone is in doubt about the importance of the place 
of patient thought and of unhurried meditation in the 
ordering of life, the famous introduction written by Helen 


Waddell for her The Desert Fathers should be consulted. 
Iri a classical statement upon the contemplative life, 
she has penetrating things to say about the athletes of 
God 3 and also about the record-breaking athletes of our 
own day. As she writes she throws light upon the capacity 
for spiritual training displayed by members of such an 
enterprise as a Polar expedition, upon the inner power 
which inspires the labours of such a one as the beloved 
physician of Lambarene or of that Nobel prizeman- 
priest who has at the moment a deep concern for the 
'heart of Europe.' Both the ancients and the moderns 
have needed for their total well-being in a life of active 
dedication a forty-day long sojourn in a desert place. 



The Rev. J. E, FISON 

THE story in St. Luke xi. 1428 may be confusing, 
but the good news contained in it for the Third 
Sunday in Lent is crystal clear. There are three things 
which can block communion with God and so hold us 
back from the life God would have us live. They can 
all be removed and cleared out of the way if we will 
let Jesus' message in the Gospel for to-day have its way 
with us. 

The first obstacle is pure prejudice. So many of us 
prefer to live with blinkers over our eyes, rather than 
face- the gospel of the painful eye-opener that Jesus offers. 
We prefer to go on wearing our family blinkers, or our 
national or ecclesiastical blinkers, rather than face life 
squarely for ourselves. It is so much more cosy to let 
others hold the reins and guide us, but Jesus wants us to 
stand on our own feet and walk by our own insight and 
learn if necessary by our own mistakes. There is not a 
trace of any false paternalism about Him. As John Oman 
used to say, the gospel is not so much a crutch as a spur 
a spur to face new facts, however unpleasant and un- 
palatable they may be. 

We want to live a life of our own choosing. But true 
vocation means finding the life that God has chosen for 
us. Perhaps, like the Jews, we are quite willing to put 
questions to life; but perhaps, also like them, we are not 
so willing to face up to the questions life puts to us. We 
want to live on a one-way street of our own selection 



whether of giving, if we profess to be Christians; or of 
taking, if we make no such profession. We are not so 
anxious to live on the two-way street of reciprocal giving 
and taking, which is where God has placed us. The truth 
the Jews needed to hear and receive was staring them in 
the face, if only they would recognize it. 

But when Jesus confronted them with the new facts 
recorded in the Gospel for to-day, they accused Him of 
working 'through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.' 
They refused to allow for the possibility that God might 
be working where they did not think He normally worked 
and in ways different from those He normally used. 
It was because in the end they refused the gospel of the 
painful eye-opener that they crucified Him; they pre- 
ferred darkness to light. 

And who are we to blame them? As Plato knew so 
well, if our eyes have become used to the darkness, it is 
very painful to look at the light. But that is what we must 
do. New facts must be faced and not denied by prejudice, 
or misinterpreted by ignorance, or distorted by malice. 
If we face them, we shall find new insights into the gospel 
of our heavenly Father. He is no fool. As George Adam 
Smith used to say, He also is reasonable. 'Come now/ he 
says, 'and let us reason together 5 about all the things 
that are so disturbing. There is no need to fear new 
truth, but there is no denying the pain of the eye-opener 
that is inevitable as soon as we take our blinkers off. 

But there is more to the Gospel for to-day than just 
this. The trouble is not only that we live in cosy blinkers, 
but also that we rely on false securities, and we do not 
like the gospel of the painful disturber of our peace. 
But this is exactly the prescription Jesus has to give to 
so many sick people, if they are to get well. The prophets 
of the Old Testament warned the people again and again 

J. E. FISON 69 

against 'Peace, peace, where there is no peace/ and Jesus 
said that He came 'Not to bring peace, but a sword. 5 
We want to keep our securities in peace. God wants to 
break in on the false peace of our house and so help us 
to find the true peace of security in reliance upon Him 
alone. That is the point of Jesus' remarks about the 
strong man whose 'goods are in peace 5 until c a stronger 
than he shall come upon him. 5 Jesus is the stronger 
than the strong. 

We can see what the sword He said He had to bring 
meant in His own life. It was a sword that He wielded 
that pierced Mary 5 s heart. He could not do His Fathers 
will without breaking His mother's heart; and so it was 
also with His mother-church and His mother-land. 
It was the agony, not so much about what He was going 
to suffer the next day, as about what He was going 
to cause His friends to suffer that almost broke Him in 
Gethsemane. The false securities must go if the true 
security is to be found. But they are not given up with- 
out agony. 

The dearest idol I have known, 

What e'er that idol be, 
Help me to tear it from Thy throne, 

And worship only Thee. 

There can be no dodging of this cross if we are to know 
the gospel of the Son. 'Some of us would have Christ 
cheap, but the price will not come down 5 (S. Rutherford). 

But there is even more than this in the Gospel for to- 
day. It is not only cosy blinkers and false securities that 
keep us from the life of true communion with God; 
it is also futile and fatuous piety; and Jesus has something 
to say about this too. His gospel is not only a painful 
eye-opener and a painful disturber of the peace; it is 
also a painful deflater of false piety. How many of. our 



lives are like the house 'swept and garnished/ which 
provided such a splendid home, not only for the one 
devil who had been turned out of it, but also for the seven 
others whom he got to join him when he re-occupied it! 
Jesus found the life of so many religious people in His 
day a vacuum, a vacuum that many people imagine is a 
holy thing, until they remember the dynamic meaning of 
true holiness as Jesus demonstrated it. 

So often Lent provides just such a holy vacuum. We 
have cleaned out a devil or two on Shrove Tuesday and 
Ash Wednesday, only to provide far better premises for 
other devils to occupy during the rest of Lent. Against 
all false and merely conventional piety, Jesus set His 
face like a flint. 'Creative living is on the yonder side of 
convention' (Jung), and unless we are prepared to venture 
out on this yonder side, it would have been better if we 
had not started off with any conventional clean-up at the 
beginning of Lent at all. That is the terrible secret of the 
gospel of the Holy Spirit. 

What then is required of us? The last two verses of 
the Gospel make this clear. False piety is not only futile ; 
it is also fatuous ; and so often it takes the form of fatuous 
noises. A certain woman seems to have thought she 
would have liked to have been Jesus' mother. She little 
knew ! But Jesus did, and He had no use for the senti- 
mental platitudes which so often mask an unconscious 
hypocrisy. The Gospel of this Sunday leaves us with the 
abrupt, stern and inescapable challenge which Jesus 
gave to that woman; 'Blessed are they that hear the 
word of God and keep it.' 

If we have heard the word of God this morning, it 
may be that it has come as something of a shock, a painful 
eye-opener if we have been living in cosy blinkers; a 
painful disturber of the peace if we have been relying on 

J. E. FISON 71 

false securities, a painful deflator of false and fatuous 
piety if we have been living in a holy vacuum. It was 
with some such effect that Jesus' life, and above all His 
death, struck the religious world of His day, and it is 
just the same to-day. The cross is still a stumbling-- 
block to some, and absolute nonsense to others ; but it is 
also still the power of God to all those who are being 

The Right Rev. ROBERT R. BROWN 

6 -TpO every thing there is a season, and a time to every 
JL purpose under heaven ... a time to weep, and a 
time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . . 
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. 3 So wrote 
the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes (iii. i, 4, 7). As 
we read these words, and particularly as we consider 
them in reference to this perplexing age, we cannot 
refrain from asking: 'What time is it now? 3 

We look upward and see sputniks and missiles dotting 
the skies, and men circling the globe in outer space 
beyond the rim of the earth. Is this a time to weep, or 
a time to laugh? We look abroad to the international 
state of things where the very foundations of civilization 
seem to be toppling and splitting from the pressures of 
wars and rumours of wars, and where the spirit of 
democracy is being threatened daily by those who will 
not accept its way of life. Is this a time to mourn, or a 
time to dance? We look within our own boundaries 
and find divisions and strife brought to birth by the well- 
meaning and the not-so-well-meaning, sometimes from 
the womb of patriotism, sometimes from the breeding 
grounds of other 'isms,' but always with the name of 
Reform. Is it a time to keep silent, or a time to speak? 
Even the Church herself is not exempt from the effects 
of those who accuse her, or woo her, or discount her 
according to their ideologies. And so, though there may 



be a time for every purpose under heaven, tell me: What 
time is it now ? 

We search the past for some precedent or some tradition 
to tell us the time, but there is no help for us there. The 
days are dead; the years are dead; history's --statute of 
limitations seems to haye run out. We reach forth to the 
future in hope of a sign, but no sign is given. There are 
question marks, but no exclamation points and no clues 
to tell us what lies ahead. Finally, desperately, we lift 
up our heads to God. We tell Him of 'the distress of 
nations with perplexity, 5 and of 'men's hearts failing them 
for fear,' and we ask, devoutly, in this Lenten Season 
to be told of the time. Then God answers us with words 
such as these: 'Little children, this is a time for Righteous- 
ness, for Brotherhood, and for Faith.' 

Our Lord tells us that we must seek the Kingdom of 
God and His righteousness first of all. Surely every age 
must do so and the command is not peculiar to our times. 
But the times themselves are giving it a dreadful urgency. 
In a day when science appears to rule, scientists plead 
for us to understand that our chief task is not to harness 
nature, but to let God harness us. In an hour when 
might seems the only defence of right, military leadership 
prays for a Light which is not of man. In a day when 
individuals are concerned about defending their nation, 
statesmen remind that the starting point of such defence 
is with the individual. Truly, our major problem is not 
the scientific one of how to conquer the universe, nor 
the military one of how to conquer our enemies, but the 
spiritual one of how to be conquered by Christ. 

The demands of God's Righteousness apply to the 
schoolboy in his classroom, and in his relations with 
other young people. They apply to the business practices 


of individuals and corporations. They apply to honesty 
in advertising, integrity in contracts, and mutilal trust 
between Management and Labour. In family life they 
apply to the fidelity of a husband to his wife and a wife 
to her husband, to the love of parents for a child and the 
respect of children for their elders. There is a Right and 
there is a Wrong. If we perform one we are living. If we 
concede to the other we may be breathing and stirring, 
but the sting of death is already upon us. 

In Kipling's Second Jungle Book he told how the jungle 
and the jungle beasts subtly encroached upon a large 
Indian village which was too occupied with personal 
security and selfish comfort to realize what was occurring. 
Slowly and irrevocably these enemies crept forward to 
destroy the crops, slay the domesticated animals and 
drive the inhabitants away one by one, until finally 
that once thriving village was a part of the jungle again. 

I do not say that Christians are permitting selfish 
occupations to blind them to the peril of an approaching 
jungle. I do not wish to be excessively negative and 
point only to human weakness when the multitude of 
God-given strengths is so apparent. But I do say that as 
Christians we have a continuing responsibility to our 
character and that any apathy towards individual or 
national morality will spell inevitable death. 

What time is it ? It is time to understand that we survive 
by the Grace of God and that this Grace requires a 
personal discipline by which we seek and work and 
sacrifice for the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. 

No less do these hours require Brotherhood. In the 
Book of Genesis we are given a graphic description of a 
murder. Cain, Tfira fit of jealousy, rose up and slew Abel 
because his offering to the Lord did not receive the same 
respect. Then came God's inevitable, blunt query: 


'Where is Abel thy brother ?' It is well said that all Law 
began with this question, that all social service, all 
government, and all morality were born there. But there 
are two sides to this question, and in these difficult times 
it seems exceedingly important to turn the query around. 
Each of us might pause during this Lenten Season and 
ask how we would reply were God to put the question: 
* Where is Cain thy brother? 3 Where are those who are 
different from us, less fortunate than us, more desperate 
than us? Do we make a place for them in our lives? 
Are we concerned for them ? As Christians we have a con- 
tinuing responsibility for every sort and condition of man. 

A radio drama of some years ago depicted the events 
leading up to the execution of an incorrigible criminal. 
The plot, however, did not centre on the condemned 
man himself. It told of five nooses in addition to the one 
which was to hang him. The first was prepared for his 
parents who had denied him his right to be loved. The 
second was for the school authorities who had seen him 
only as a problem, never as^a human being. The third 
was for a politician who had feared to vote for a bill 
which would have wiped out the slums which nurtured 
him. The fourth was reserved for a representative of 
organized entertainment whose programmes had made 
crime and immorality seem attractive. And the fifth 
noose was for the average citizen of an average community 
whose indifference and apathy had made all the rest 
possible. 'Where is Cain thy brother?' 

Much is being said of the threat to Freedom and 
Liberty and the Democratic Dream to-day. But we can- 
not protect Freedom by limiting it to a few, we cannot 
defend Liberty with slander, and we cannot proclaim 
a Democratic Dream while denying our individual 
responsibility for each other. 


What time is it? It is a time to let Christ teach us to 
love. It is a time for every Christian to live a life of 
maximum service in an hour of maximum need. It is a 
time for Brotherhood. 

Finally, it is a time for Faith: for the religious Faith 
which is c the substance of things hoped for, the evidence 
of things not seen. 5 Certainly we should know more about 
Communism to-day how it operates as a religion of 
despair, a programme of deceit how it ignores the 
individual, denies his basic freedom and subjects him 
to the tyranny of the state. Obviously, we should under- 
stand what is involved in any embryo Fascist movements 
to-day how in the name of patriotism they appeal to 
fear, feed on suspicion, thrive on irresponsible denuncia- 
tions. But most of all, we need to know the Faith which 
recognizes that this is God's world, and that He is alive 
in it! 

Faith is not dogged adherence to narrow theological 
formulae; it is personal communion and fellowship with 
God. It is not an isolated wistfulness which is unrelated 
to the realities of everyday living; it is inseparably bound 
to everyday activity. Faith lives in the soul. It is a gift 
both given and won. It is a stirring, adventurous thing 
which receives the Divine revelation and responds with 
love and prayer and service. It is by Faith that we are 
moved to live righteously. It is by Faith that we are 
compelled to establish Brotherhood. Here is the clue 
to life, the seed of our hope and the spur to our action. 
Here is the environment for vision, the test for truth and 
the mother of courage. 

What time is it? It is time to let the breath of God 
blow across the coals of our hearts. It is time to pray 
to Him with the uninhibited simplicity of little children, 


time to be used by Him within the fellowship of His 
Church, and time to speak for Him in the knowledge 
that whatever the signs in the sun, and in the moon, and 
in the stars ; whatever the distress of nations with per- 
plexity, whatever the failure of men's hearts for fear, we 
can still look up, lift up our heads, for our redemption is 
drawing nigh. 

Yes, c to everything there is a season, and a time to 
every purpose under heaven.' So let us use this Lenten 
Season for some positive purposes. We may not do every- 
thing, but by God's Grace we can do what we ought to 
do. As Christians, whoever we are, wherever we are, 
we can strive for Righteousness, sacrifice for Brotherhood, 
labour for the increase of Faith. And in all we can make 
that simple thirteenth-century prayer our own: 

Day by day, 

Dear Lord, of Thee three things I pray : 

To see Thee more clearly, 

Love Thee more dearly, 

Follow Thee more nearly, 

Day by day. 

The Right Rev. R. R. WILLIAMS 

'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you . . .for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' 

ST. MATT. xi. 28-30. 

'TPHESE are some of the most well-known words in 
Jl the whole of the Bible. To members of the Church 
of England they are familiar, as the first of the so-called 
'comfortable words' words of strength and consolation 
addressed to the people at the Holy Communion. The 
idea came from the German Reformation, which used 
the phrase 'Hear the Gospel- Comfort.' From this our 
sentence c Hear what comfortable words our Saviour 
Christ saith' is clearly taken. The words are almost as 
familiar from the beautiful solo in HandePs Messiah, 
c Come unto Him. 3 Round the apse of the chapel of my 
College the sentence is written in Greek characters. The 
words have always served as an epitome of the Gospel. 
When John Wesley addressed a thousand Cornish tin- 
miners in the open air at 5 o'clock one -morning in the 
eighteenth century, he preached from these words, 
and their appeal to the hard-worked and then underpaid 
labourers had an obvious force. 

I was myself made to think of them again recently by 
something I read in a recent book about the c yke.' 
Preachers have usually explained the c yoke of Christ' by 
referring to the yoke used then and now to link two 
ploughing oxen, the idea being that we must be linked 
with Christ in order to plough or furrow through life 
straightly. But it is now suggested that the idea is rather 



that of the carved strip of wood slung across the shoulders 
by which a peasant can carry two heavy loads, e.g. two 
buckets of water, with less effort. The people of Palestine 
were struggling to carry heavy burdens. They thought 
they could only please God by obeying a vast mass of 
legal regulations. Jesus said, 'God is not that sort of God 
at all. He has made you: He loves you: you must trust 
and love Him as I do, and leave the rest. Take my 
yoke upon you. My yoke is easy: my burden is light. 5 

The burden of a complicated ritual law is not the 
burden most people are carrying to-day perhaps some 
might profitably be a little more particular in obeying 
the precepts of religion. But if this word is to come with 
force, it must offer help in the carrying of to-day's burdens. 
What are the burdens under which men weary now, and 
how can Jesus help us carry them? 

One burden is that of life's pressing duties. Everybody 
is busy nowadays, although for many actual working 
hours are shorter than hitherto. Life is lived at a greater 
speed than used to be the case. News from all parts of 
the world flashes on us all hour by hour. The problems 
on our minds are no longer those of the home, the farm, 
the village. Every world problem is our problem too. 
Man's insatiable adventure and curiosity are not content 
with exploring this planet. Romantic fiction and pseudo- 
science are fascinated by space-ships. Television plays 
picture wars with Mars, as if human wars had become 
too tame to thrill or terrify. Even sport is exacting. 
The choice of a Test team becomes a subject of bitter 
press controversy. On the result of a game of football 
may hang a substantial, if poorly earned, fortune. 

Can modern man, weighed down with these burdens, 
hear Christ's call, 'Come unto Me ... ye that are heavy 
laden. I will give you rest. Take my yoke.' If so, he 


will learn from Christ that man's ultimate needs are 
simple. To know that all things are in God's hands, 
that He does not expect from us more than He enables 
us to achieve, that a loving home is man's greatest blessing, 
that this life is not all, that death is a gateway to fuller 
life these are the things Christ still teaches through His 
Church. Take His yoke. His yoke is easy. His burden is 

Then there is the burden of the world's suffering and 
pain. Modern science has done much to relieve suffering, 
but there is still what Wordsworth calls 

. . . the burden of the mystery 

. . . the heavy and the weary weight 

Of all this unintelligible world. 

Still the fact of death, with all the painful separations 
involved; still disease unconquered; still wrongs inflicted 
on man by man; still fear and anxiety, only heightened 
by modern skill in destruction. In this sense, too, man 
is weary and heavy laden: not all the time, but all at 
times, and some all the time. 

What message for these so burdened is brought by the 
comfortable word of my text? As e Come unto Me' rings 
out from every altar every Sunday, does it speak a word 
to those who feel the burden of the world's pain? When 
our Lord was on this earth, it did indeed. They brought 
to Him all that were sick, and He healed them. He bore 
our sicknesses and carried our sorrows. Still this literal 
offer of help is given to some in the name of Christ. 
We have recently heard again the wonderful story of 
Dr. Schweitzer, now eighty years of age, dedicating all 
his great gifts to healing the African in the name of Christ. 
Still much human sympathy is extended to those in 
trouble. Whether consciously or not, such sympathy and 
help is a fulfilment of the Christian command, 'Bear ye 


one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 5 
Supremely, Christ's invitation to a suffering world to 
'Come unto Him' is an invitation to share His perfect 
trust and obedience in God. To Him, this meant no 
escape from duty, from pain, and from death itself. 
It did mean victory in the face of all these things, and He 
means us to share that victory too. 

Finally this call comes to those who know the burden 
of a troubled conscience. Sometimes at the end of life, 
sometimes at the height of its vigour, for some perma- 
nently, for others temporarily, there is known that secret 
burden of failure and frustration, that sense that if we 
had been different things would have been different, 
that we have let down ourselves, our friends, God Him- 
self, not perhaps by some outward moral crash, but in 
subtler and deeper ways. To all such, to all who come to 
see that the burden of their sins is 'intolerable' unable 
to be borne Christ says 'Come unto Me. Take my yoke. 
Abandon a hopeless effort to measure up to your own 
phantasy of yourself. Stand with Me trusting entirely 
to God's provision and to His grace. Let my Cross be 
the answer to all the past: My grace the answer to all the 
future. 5 

At this Lenten season let us try to see our Lord inviting 
all men, al] nations., ourselves included, to find rest and 
refreshment and inspiration from Him. Let us see the 
work of the Church in all lands as echoing Christ's 
invitation, making all men hear, making all men see. 



* The body is not for unchastity, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.' 

i COR. vi. 13. 

POPULAR virtues can be left to look after them- 
selves; we shall not increase their popularity by 
preaching them up; we shall only increase our own. 
And that is not the object of the exercise. We must 
preach the virtues nobody loves. For example. Chastity. 
Chastity is so hated, that it is generally thought to be 
no virtue at all; Chastity, that is, in the Christian sense, 
which restricts sexual gratification to marriage, and limits 
it even there. According to most of our contemporaries, 
there is no point in such a restriction, now that we have 
learnt how to indulge ourselves without letting fatherless 
children loose into the world. It is pointless, and worse 
than pointless; the doctrine of Christian chastity is a 
poison; it corrodes and inhibits the soul by frustrating 
natural desire; the passion which should have found an 
innocent outflow stagnates and festers in the mind. 

Once the facts have been appreciated (our contem- 
poraries say) the very word "chastity 3 becomes a misnomer 
for what it conventionally designates. For chastity, 
castitas, means purity, a cleanness of heart and soul, such 
as fits the worshipper to approach his God. Now (it is 
said) there is nothing foul, or defiling, in free enjoyment 
with those we sincerely love, whether we happen to be 
married to them, or not. It is the effects of forced restraint 
that are foul; the inward pollution of the imagination, 
not to mention occasional outbreaks into acts of sordid 



lust here is unchastity if you like, a profanation of love 
and a blasphemy against the God of Nature. 

The attack is pushed still further, and flung against 
our last stronghold. Christianity, say our enemies, 
appears to us on all sides to be an overstrained idealism, 
content to spoil most souls, so long as it can make saints 
of a few. This would be bad enough, even if the saints, 
produced at such a cost, were worth having. But they 
are not. We do not like your prize products; we do not 
admire the celibate, or virginal character; we find it 
timid, cold and immature. 

A preacher ought to give the devil his due; but the 
devil has so much to say, that if we rehearse all his 
arguments, we shall have no space left to speak for the 
angels. And there is really no need for me to enlarge on 
the current anti- Christian doctrine, since it is so well 
known. Why, half the novels written are propaganda in 
favour of it. Perhaps the most effective, because the most 
insidious, propaganda is the story which blandly assumes 
the disappearance of Christian morality; or that none 
but green children and withered elders take any notice 
of it. But more significant from our point of view is the 
conversion-story, the spectacle of a believer in the law of 
Christ won over to the new religion of nature. 

We call such a story significant, because it reveals a 
conflict between two religions, or at least two moralities, 
both sincerely held. The question is, which is best, or 
rather, which is the truth. And it will be as useless as 
it is unjust, to accuse of bad faith those who disagree 
with us; or to begin convicting them of sin, before we have 
convinced them of error. You might as well denounce 
Hindus for believing reincarnation or Mohammedans for 
revering the Koran. The Church is fighting for her life, 
not against sin (the victory would be easy) but against 


a rival god, an incompatible ideal. We may think that 
our nature-worshippers (if we are to call them such) 
let themselves off lightly, and have an ethical creed 
suspiciously palatable to the sensual man. But that does 
not prove them to be in bad faith. On the contrary; 
it is an argument in favour of a moral system, that it 
agrees with ordinary feeling; virtue should be expected to 
satisfy the heart. 

Since the sexual impulse is not peculiar to mankind, it 
may have a sobering and realistic effect, if we begin by 
recalling its animal function. That function is, unques- 
tionably, the reproduction of the race; just as the function 
of the hunger impulse is the sustaining of individual life, 
and the function of fear, the avoidance of mortal danger. 
But there is something unique about the sexual impulse. 
The emotional pains of fear or of hunger merely enforce 
and anticipate evident physical penalties if we defy 
hunger, we presently lose strength ; if we defy danger, we 
run into actual harm. The sexual appetite has not, to 
the animal, any such immediate practical relevance. 
A brute suffers nothing physically arid directly from failing 
to obey it. And so its command over him must be all 
the more imperious, if it is to achieve its end. There 
must be a strength of impulse, an intensity of pleasure, 
a restlessness of dissatisfaction quite unique, if he is to be 
carried to the discharge of a function, whose consequences 
are nothing to him. 

The great excess and overplus of sexual impulse is 
inherited by man, the rational creature; and what is he 
to make of it ? What part is it to play in the existence of a 
being perfectly well able to see ahead, and to appreciate 
the consequences of his acts ? Will not he discipline it, 
and subordinate it? It seems absurd that, having achieved 
reason, we should make a god of a principle which owes 



its peculiar power to an incapacity for thought. But how 
are we to discipline an impulse such as this ? We cannot 
simply mortify or weaken it, as we may a vicious habit. 
It is a great power-drive in us, constituted as we are; 
we are bound to use the engines nature has powered us 
with, and make the best of them. We do not, indeed, 
require all this sexual energy for its direct use, so we 
divert it into a dozen channels; it becomes the impulse 
of ambition and of art, of personal affection and of social 
philanthropy; not least, of religious devotion. 

If such is the human predicament, it is not surprising 
that different religions, different cultures, different 
moralities should have arisen in the long ages of history, 
with different recipes for the human employment of the 
sexual impulse. And how radically different these recipes 
have been ! We are inclined to think that there is a simple 
and natural something called love' (in the sexual sense 
of the word) ; and proceed to rank that system of life 
highest, which best allows love' to be itself. But any 
anthropologist, any historian of culture, will tell us that 
our supposition is false. Our romantic love is an amalgam 
between natural passion and acquired ideas; a mixture 
of inescapable instinct and alterable culture. What we 
take to be love is something like the American way of 
life: we have got it, all right; but we did not have to 
have it. 

It is absurd, then, to measure Christianity by its power 
to accommodate, or to express, romantic love as currently 
understood. Christianity is a different system; it has a 
different formula, other ideals. It is this that makes 
the present position of Christians so distressing. We live 
in a world of whose outward form Christianity has largely 
lost control; and to practise the Christian pattern of life 
in such a world will often seen strained, artificial and 


painful. Two sorts of awkward consequences follow from 
our predicament. First, it can be a grievous effort to 
keep the Christian rules yourself, where the general 
pattern of living gives you no support. Second, and 
perhaps worse you will be put in a false position with 
others. You will fail to do what they expect of you in 
the most intimate relations of life; you will disappoint 
their hearts, and even offend their moral sense. 'Miserable 
man,' says Potiphar's wife, 'hugging his precious chastity, 
instead of giving it up to me!' 

If Christian chastity is such a burden in an unchristian 
age, why make the effort to carry it? Shall we say that 
at whatever pain to ourselves, we are called upon to save 
the truth, for our own and for future ages? That our 
position is like the position, of the primitive Christians ? 
If they had not been prepared to stand the strain of 
Christian conduct in a pagan world, the Church would 
undoubtedly have perished. There was much falling 
away, but there were enough heroic souls to save the 
faith. Our lot is not harder than that of the martyrs. 

Ah, but the martyrs were convinced of their cause. 
The Son of God had conquered death and routed all 
the spirits who bedevilled the pagan scene. If our pre- 
dicament seems worse than theirs, it is because we lack 
their conviction. What is the principle of chastity? Why 
is it so worth fighting for? I must attempt some sort of 
answer; it will certainly be an incomplete one. 

The God who made us is not unaware of the fact 
he permitted Sigmund Freud to discover, that man, 
dynamically viewed, is a sexual animal. Therefore, 
having raised us to the capacity of fellowship with him- 
self, this God, whom Moses dares to call jealous, is 
determined to capture the dynamo of our heart, our basic 
fund of emotional force, and turn it to his service. He 


has prescribed two ways. There is the hard way, where 
the sublimation or redirection of sexual force is complete. 
And in answer to the charge, that those who tread this 
path are unattractive figures, we can only put forward 
the radiant holiness of Jesus Christ, and of those virginal 
saints whom supernatural charity has wholly possessed. 
An inability to appreciate such splendours merely 
convicts of blindness the beholder. Happy are they who 
have known such men, or such women, face to face. 
Yet the calling is for few, and most of us, trying to follow 
it, would be miserable, or frustrated. Nor would the 
purposes of God be served; since He also loves and fosters 
the nature He has made. 

Nevertheless our Creator will not surrender His claim 
upon any one of us. He will not have any of us knot so 
tying a bond, so intimate and exclusive an association as 
fleshly union is, except with the person whom we can 
receive from His own hands, and under His own law, and 
for His own purposes. A husband or wife is given us 
as the deputy of Christ Himself, to be loved with as entire 
and as exclusive a loyalty. So marriage becomes a 
sacrament of religion, and a speaking likeness of our 
union with our Redeemer. 

The Christian scheme of life has its centre in God. 
If we let go of that principle we shall make no sense of 
Christian morals. The rival doctrine is the cult not of 
God but of personal relationships, pursued for their own 
sakes and according to our own sweet wills. A and B, 
in the golden flattering light of amatory emotion, are 
sure that the affair between them is the most exquisite 
blossom of love. If it were legalized, and public, if it 
were made the foundation of parenthood, and the focus 
of innumerable domestic cares, how it would be vulgarized 
and profaned! Yet this profanation, this vulgarization, 


is exactly what the terrible practicality of God's will 
demands. God is not so much concerned to hand us 
exquisite nosegays of irresponsible feeling. He is concerned 
to get on with His world. He wants to draw us into 
obligations, not to let us off them; He wants to make 
families, and get children, and build up our souls. 

And, of course, marriage is most natural, after all; 
it keeps sexual union where it animally belongs, that is, 
in some sort of relation with procreation. Nothing else 
can anchor love to reality. No serious thinker, however 
unchristian, can doubt that sexual union is a very special 
sort of relationship. No one can seriously suppose that 
life would be enriched, if we each treated our whole 
acquaintance in the other sex as a sort of harem. A 
love-affair between decent people is always a little parody 
of marriage. The real thing is better. Here as elsewhere, 
what God's will asks of us may look forbidding from out- 
side, but it proves our true happiness, once we are in. 

I will conclude with a remark about the sinfulness of 
forbidden sexual acts. It is complained that cruelty and 
hypocrisy are vastly worse than unchastity, and yet that 
they are less punished by the Church. Very true; unchaste 
acts are not specially wicked. What is peculiar about 
them is that they are specially definite. We fall into 
unkindness or insincerity before we know it; all we can 
do is to repent, when we become aware of it. But an 
unchaste act is an unchaste act; the Christian who 
commits it goes flat against the divine law, and knows it. 
That is the special heinousness, for Christians, of the 
unchaste act. I say, for Christians; by such a standard 
we know that we must judge ourselves. To those outside 
we should be most tolerant, most generous. Very likely 
they are living up to their lights; who are we to judge? 
There is one Judge, the Judge of quick and dead, the 


reader of hearts, whose justice is exact, but instrumental 
always to his mercy; by whose grace alone our sins are 
forgiven, and our heaven assured, in the light of His 
countenance; where the Father is visible in the Son, by 
the indwelling of the Holy Ghost ; to whom, three Persons 
in one God, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all might, 
dominion, majesty and power, henceforth and for ever. 


'A certain man had two sons . . .' ST. LUKE xv. 1 1 . 

WHILE this parable is not included in the propers 
for the Season of Lent, it is most certainly one 
of the profound portrayals of human reaction to a true 
life situation. For us the circumstances may be different, 
but our needs are the same. It is good to meditate on 
this story, for it is like a mirror in which we can see our- 
selves, even though through our own weakness the reflec- 
tion is often distorted. It is a parable that portrays the 
inner emotions and drives within us and of our search 
for forgiveness and reconciliation and very vividly it 
portrays our littleness, perverseness and self-righteous- 

Above all it points out in unmistakable terms the desire 
and joy of God in bringing about reconciliation, the act 
of being united once again after estrangement and separa- 

The parable is a story of existence, because in the 
personality of each character we can, through the grace 
of God, see ourselves with the same desires, emotions 
and needs. It is easy to identify ourselves with any one 
of the persons in the story, but in reality there is within 
all of us a little of each. 

The younger son, perhaps eager for adventure and 
fed up with the routine life at home, wanted to get away 
from it all. The love of the father was taken for granted. 
He had always lived under the shadow of paternal 



affection, and because of this he could not have had any 
notion of the loneliness of separation. His home was 
probably one that was well ordered, not luxurious, but 
comfortable, he knew something of the discipline of 
labour, even if there were servants. But because of his 
youth and immaturity, the happiness of sonship was 
overshadowed by the monotony of the security which 
it afforded. 

Approaching his father in a lighthearted manner, 
with no thought of the sorrow it would bring, he said, 
'Father, my life here is not very exciting. I want to leave 
and go where I can see a little of the world. I want to be 
where things are happening. Give me my inheritance. 5 
Now, he loved his father and his brother, and would 
continue to do so, but along with that love he wanted 
to experience and enjoy what the world and others could 

Because of the intensity of the father's love he did as 
the son requested; he would not, he could not stand in 
the son's way, knowing that love cannot be held by threat 
or force. He knew that his son's love could only be held 
by his own willingness to lose it, with the eternal hope 
that if lost could be regained through the maturity that 
comes from the fullness of life's experiences. So he divided 
unto them his living. 

It is not at all difficult to visualize the excitement that 
surrounded the departure of the younger son. He was 
dressed in a robe prepared for the journey, with a bag of 
coins hanging from his belt. He was anxious to get 
started, but yet with some hesitation in saying good-bye. 
The sorrow of the father showed through his words of 
good wishes for his well-being, envy was apparent in 
the indifference of the brother, and the genuine concern 
of the servants as they gave him last minute advice. 


This was the picture as the young son departed to a far 

In his new environment he was initially supremely 
happy, new friends, new experiences; living only for 
the day and the pleasures it could afford, he was still 
conscious of his father's love, but he was willing to settle 
for that love by long distance. He was not aware that 
he was in a far country, that he had by his own choice 
put distance between himself and his family. His decision 
had been made deliberately. The lure of excitement 
and the fleeting adulation of new friends seemed far 
better than the simple but enduring love and concern 
of his father back home. 

In his experience he pinned his hopes for his future 
well-being on the things' his material possessions would 
provide. It seemed enough for a lifetime and yet how 
quickly it was gone. He began to be in want. He had 
time for reflection, having been deserted by his new- 
found friends. His first thought was of home. How 
typical ! In his immediate need he thought of the bounty 
of his father's table. That which he had always taken for 
granted. He knew that the lowest servant in his own home 
did not suffer the pangs of hunger as he was suffering. 

In his need e he came to himself.' He was out on a limb 
and he knew it. In this predicament his fertile mind 
hatched a little scheme. He thought, perhaps honestly, 
that being a well-fed servant would be better than being 
a starving and suffering son. Now, he was experiencing 
for the first time the real meaning of separation, even 
though it was primarily because of the pangs of hunger. 
His scheme was simply that he would put his pride 
in his pocket, and go home. He had worked the old man 
before, and he could do it again. The plan was carefully 
thought out. Upon his arrival he would just say, 'Father, 


I have done wrong against God and against you and I am 
truly sorry for it. I should have listened to you. Now 
because of my disobedience I am not really worthy to 
come back as your son, but I want to stay; just make me 
one of your hired men.' He was certain in his mind 
that this would soften up the old man's anger. He 
didn't realize, he was incapable of knowing the depth 
of his father's love for him. And so he started home, 
weak, exhausted and hungry, but confident that his 
scheme would work. 

Even before he reached home, his father, who had 
fallen into the habit of looking out over the horizon 
expectantly for his son's return, saw him, ran to him 
speechless with joy. In this silent drama not a word 
was spoken, but by a simple sacramental act, sonship 
was recreated for the wayward boy. Then as if by the 
compulsion of a well-rehearsed speech he began with a 
voice filled with emotion, 'Father, I have sinned against 
God and you, I am no longer worthy of being your 
son. . . .' But there he stopped, he couldn't carry through 
his scheme. The words that he had so carefully thought 
out stuck in his throat. He could not speak of servitude 
when he had just discovered, perhaps for the first time, 
the meaning of sonship. He knew that although he had 
been selfish and in a far country, that he had been for- 
given even before he could express his sorrow. The 
father's love had been there all the time. To show the 
joy of the father the feast was prepared, for the lost was 
now home. 

The elder brother had never left home. He had worked 
hard, he had been faithful through the years, he had been 
a part of the household all his life. Now he was angry 
because of the festivities as an expression of joy at his 
brother's return. He would have no part of it, and 


preferred to remain outside and sulk. There was no love 
there for his brother or his father, only resentment. 

The father in his happiness and the expectation of 
joy of the elder brother, said, 'Your brother has come 
home.' His reply to the father gave himself away as to 
his relationship. The very words which the younger 
brother could not utter when the chips were down, 
came easily to this angry young man, 4 Lo, these many 
years do I serve thee.' He had thought of himself all these 
years not as a son, but as a servant. 'Never have I dis- 
obeyed you. 5 This was self-righteousness at its worst. 
c You have never rewarded me with a party like this.' 
Envy and jealousy filled his heart. c But as soon as this 
thy son (not my brother, but thy son) was come who 
has spent his inheritance with prostitutes' (malicious 
imagination, for the story does not relate this; he was 
putting his brother in the worst possible light) thou 
hast killed for him the fatted calf.' 

This great parable ends with the father's promise. 
e Son, it is right that we should be glad, for thy brother 
was gone and is home with us again. Thou art ever with 
me and all that I have is thine. Only the love that I 
have for you cannot be yours unless it is shared with 
your brother.' 

Being careless about or taking for granted the love of 
our Heavenly Father is a grievous sin of which everyone 
is guilty. By our own actions we have cut ourselves off 
from it and have gone into a far country. Like the younger 
brother we have been permitted to know the joy of for- 
giveness and to know that time after time we have been 
reunited with our Father in heaven and our brethren 
on earth. We know the blessedness of once again putting 
our feet under the Lord's Table and the joy of reconcilia- 
tion with our brethren within and without the Household. 


Reconciliation can never come about as long as anger, 
jealousy, self-righteousness and maliciousness fill our 

The grace of God, through prayer, Word and Sacra- 
ment enables us time after time when we too are in a far 
country to 'come to ourself.' The Holy Spirit gives in 
full measure a penitent heart and Christ Himself is ever 
reaching out to us as prodigal sons and makes us the 
recipients of His love and therefore sons within His 
family, the Church. 



I THANK God for Lent. I love it. I welcome it. 
Lent is an interruption; it invades our casualness, 
calls us from the circumference to the centre, from mar- 
ginal matters to the great central concerns of the soul. 
It is a season of deep and searching self-examination, a 
season of gallant effort to pull up and out of the rut, 
a season of return to simple and sturdy terms of Christian 
discipleship. And it is a season of deliberate detachment. 
Jesus went into the wilderness alone with God. I counsel 
no one to set out for Mount Athos, Monte Cassino, St. 
Gall, Citeaux. You need go no farther than the upper 
chamber in your own dwelling where you can refresh 
youi spirit and wash the dust from your soiil. 

Every religion which amounts much to man 
Brahmanism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity 
has periods of withdrawal from the world for the sake of 
knowing God. I see Lent as an entrance into locks from 
a lower level. The flood flows in and the tide is lifted; 
and when Easter comes, we go out on a higher level. 

I want to say three things about Lent. It is a discipline; 
it is a command; it is an assurance. One of our atomic 
scientists, von Brauix, has said, 'Man has been freed from 
the chains of gravity/ Well, he has yet to be freed from 
the chains of sin, greed, lust, pride. Lent is the time to put 
our house in order. We are told to endure hardness as 
good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and most of us are so soft 



and flabby that the devil could make a dent in us with 
his little finger. 

Discipline and self-denial seem frequently out of place 
to-day. We all know so many people whose lives are 
dedicated to the pursuit of creature comforts. Hair 
shirts are out of fashion. Flagellation is not popular. 
But the body, which Saint Francis called Brother Ass, 
gets despotic, and, in Lent, we put it under lest we become 
castaways. I am not speaking of dreary negatives or 
harsh taboos. To come to the heart of the matter, 
asceticism puzzles many who think themselves practical. 
The whole point about Saint Francis so splendid at 
the beginning of Lent is that he was an ascetic, but he 
was certainly not gloomy. As Chesterton has Said, he 
flung himself into fastings and vigils exactly as he had 
flung himself furiously into battle. It was not self-denial 
for its own sake. It was as positive as a passion; it was as 
positive as a pleasure; he devoured fasting as a man 
devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have 
dug madly for gold. And it is precisely this positive and 
passionate note of his personality that is a challenge to 
the modern in the pursuit of pleasure. 

Regard this on a purely humanistic level. William 
James says, 'Practice self-denial. Do something every 
day, no matter what, for no other reason than that you 
would rather not do it. 5 Aim at self-mastery in trivial 
things and discover how weak is your will to control your 
actions. Thomas a Kempis, who almost always has the 
last word to say on everything, writes c unless thou deny 
thyself, thou shalt not have liberty.' No character can be 
built, or anything of value accomplished, without disci- 
pline. In this age of easy living, self-denial is for many 
meaningless. But those who live under the obsession of 
material pleasures will find at the end of that road only 


the dust and the ashes of satiety. The salvation of this 
planet lies not in entertainment and creature comfort 
which enervate. Man with his free will to live for good 
or ill, has harnessed the elements, the ocean and the air. 
But he will never know freedom and happiness until he 
has tamed himself. Most powerful is he who has himself 
in his own power. Discipline is the power that shapes the 
man, the same old 'beer-drinking, creed-making, fighting, 
failing, sensual, average, respectable man.' Self-denial 
is the chisel of God for our perfecting, and, in Lent, we 
discipline the cruder, the grosser, the self-indulgent self. 

Ah, it seems a little thing to make a rule to get up a 
half-hour earlier, for instance, and to have the strength 
to say 'No 5 to the body when it pleads for a little more 
time in bed. But it is a big thing if it teaches us to say 
'No' to our besetting sin which is sapping our moral 
force, that over-mastering habit which we do not seem 
able to resist. Obviously, there is no use to give up alcohol 
and tobacco and not give up pride and meanness; no 
use to give up meat on Wednesday and Friday, and not 
gossip and backbiting. Our penances and denials are 
meant to show ourselves loyal followers of the crucified, 
whose Godhead we profess and whose disciples we say 
we are. This is the way walk ye in it. 

A great Christian teacher has said that Western 
materialistic society has taken Christ without His Cross 
a soft, sentimentalized bed-of-roses Christ as if we 
adored a God crowned with roses and pearls. And the 
Communists have taken the Cross without Christ. 
They have not Christ; but they have the cross of vigour, 
the cross of self-denial, the cross of discipline, the hardness 
of the cross. The words ascribed to Saint Dominic 
speaking of the Albigensian heresy strike the note of the 
discipline of Lent. Saint Dominic says to the Papal 


legates who are coining to fight the Albigensian heresy, 
*It is not by a display of power and pomp and a cavalcade 
of retainers and richly housed palfreys, nor by gorgeous 
apparel, that the heretics win proselytes. It is by zealous 
preaching, apostolic humility, austerity. Zeal must be 
met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real 
sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth. Cast 
off those sumptuous robes, send away the richly capari- 
soned palfreys, go without purse or scrip like the Apostles. 
Out labour! Out fast! Out discipline those false 

From the training and discipline of Lent will come to us 
a sense of newness and reality in our religion, a sense of 
joy and freshness which can be an astonishment and 
surprise. To be other thaii we are presupposes the disci- 
pline not for its own sake, but for greater intimacy with 
God. Only in this way shall we be allowed to move with 
greater ease in the spiritual life, and attain to some halls 
of space and avenues of leisure in the soul, some stately 
distances of manner and high porticoes of silence, some 
spacious approaches to the Interior Mansion where God 
and His angels condescend to walk. 

Lent is a command to take our religion seriously, and, 
therefore 3 to win souls. I ask the question to all those 
who have been signed with the sign of the Cross, who are 
in the Church, who are on the Lord's side. Put the 
question: Are you on His side just as an ornament? 
Do you think that you add to His Cause a note of exquisite 
piety and loveliness, a note of personal dignity and charm, 
or are you on the Lord's side to do something? You have 
been baptized. Whom do you bring to Baptism? You 
make your Communion. Whom have you helped to 
restore to Communion? You have been confirmed. 
Whom have you brought to Confirmation? You may 


feel terribly inadequate; but so did Moses. You may 
say the wrong thing. So did Peter. You may once have 
had no use for the Church. Nor had Paul. But God 
uses them and us to bring men to Himself. 

And has it occurred to you that we in our little Anglican 
Communion have the greatest treasures to offer and 
everything to give ? We stand for a Catholicism which is 
democratic, not autocratic; dynamic, not static; free, 
not feudal; apostolic, not papal; genuinely universal, 
not crammed into the mould of a single Mediterranean 
group. We look upon Roman Catholics as our brethren 
beloved, and we look upon Protestants as our brethren 
beloved. We think the Romanists have gone too far in 
their claim to be the whole Church; and we think that 
Protestants have reacted too violently against fifteenth- and 
sixteenth-century abuses into an atomism which denies 
the purpose of Christ. So, with all our faults, and they 
are many, we stand in a unique position to assist all 
souls into a restored, organic, unified Body of Christ. 
We are Catholic in Faith, polity and liturgical worship. 
We are axiomatically protestant against all human in- 
fallibilities, whether of the Bible or the Pope. Within 
the Anglican Communion are the dimensions of authority 
and freedom, of individual initiative and corporate 
controls, of rapt mystical experience and humble sub- 
mission to discipline. We have a Catholicism without 
superstition, and a Protestantism without vagueness. 
We may well be the particle upon which the whole 
amorphous solution of Christendom will one day 

In Lent and in all times we are commanded as 
Churchmen and disciples of the Saviour to go forth and 
bring souls to the knowledge of Christ, to bring men to the 
great glad truths about Christ and His Church. We are 



members of the historic Christian Church of Christ's 
own founding; and a Churchman who does not spread his 
Faith is a parasite on the Life of the Church. He who is 
not girding his loins for the Apostolate is abdicating his 
seat on the dais of Christianity, and is like a tree cut down 
on the road, impeding the march of the army of God. 

Lent is an assurance. A member of the Russian 
Orthodox Church in Paris has written of a beautiful 
custom in the Eastern Church. At the beginning of Lent 
there is a Vesper service; the Church is dark and every- 
thing is covered with black. The Lenten prayers are said, 
and the people prostrate themselves, and suddenly in 
this sad and penitential atmosphere, the choir begins to 
sing, very quietly, the Easter hymns. It is like a hope and 
encouragement showing that 'it will come do not forget.' 
And the knowledge of God's help during a difficult time 
can be like these Easter hymns during the Lent Service. 

Lent moves forward to the Passion of Christ and the 
majestic epic of the might of God. This drama is the key 
to the fearsome and glorious mysteries of God's love and 
man's sin, and the measure of the agony and terror which 
that love cost. The assurance is with us and, if in this 
Lent, or in any of the days of your life, you become 
discouraged and you feel some power is pushing you 
down, that some force is pushing you under if you 
can identify these powers with the force that crucified 
our Lord, you don't have to be afraid any more. For the 
Cross was the worst that evil could do. The worst the 
Devil could do was to crucify our divine Lord. The 
worst that evil could do was to give you the Body and 
the Blood of Christ. 


'Be not conformed to this world , . .' ROM. xii. 2. 

MOST of us, I imagine certainly on the first 
encounter find the opening chapters of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews somewhat difficult. These chapters are 
occupied with an abstract and complex argument, by 
which the author seeks to prove the finality of the Christian 
religion. The elaborate and many-sided contrast which 
he draws between Christianity and Judaism is apt to 
strain our attention and to fatigue our interest. We find 
the discussion profitless and arid, its method and its 
problems alike remote from the religious idiom of our 
time. What concern of ours (we ask impatiently) is all 
this laboured exposition of the deficiencies of Jewish 
ritual, this demonstration of its inability to satisfy our 
deepest needs? Our standpoint is no longer that of 
readers for whom there was something novel and startling 
in the idea that it is a sheer impossibility for the blood 
of bulls and of goats to take away sins. We are Christians 
of the twentieth century: with the imperfections and 
inadequacies of the tabernacle, its priesthood and its 
sacrifices, we are not concerned. The truth which the 
author of the Epistle to the Hebrews sought to force upon 
unwilling ears has become to us the merest common- 

And yet, as I hope to show, it is a mistake to think that 
this Epistle deals only with dead issues. On the contrary, 
in spite of the alien garb in which it has come down to us, 
it is in some ways one of the most contemporary of the 



New Testament scriptures ; and it presents an urgent and 
a highly disconcerting challenge to every one of us. 

Admittedly, its historic context the circumstances 
under which it was written is out of date and does not 
precisely correspond to anything in our experience. 
The Epistle was probably addressed to a house-church, or 
what we might call a Christian cell, in Rome, by one of 
its members who was absent from it. The people to 
whom it was written were Jews by race who had been 
Jews by religion and had become Christians, but who 
were now in danger of apostatizing, and returning from 
Christianity to the Judaism in which they had been 
brought up. The fundamental argument of the Epistle is 
therefore designed to establish the proposition that what 
they fondly imagined they could find in Judaism could not, 
in fact, be found there, but could be found in a perfect 
and final form in Christianity. And this is demonstrated 
by a very elaborate contrast between the nature of the 
two religions, based upon the philosophical conception 
of the two ages, the two aeons, the two worlds, which the 
author has derived from Alexandrian thought. Judaism 
belongs to the material world, and its physical character 
and attributes mark it out for dissolution: whereas 
Christianity belongs to the eternal, immaterial order, 
and therefore no decay can ever overtake it. Conse- 
quently, as St. Paul when dealing with a not altogether 
dissimilar crisis in Galatia besought his converts not to 
desire to be again in bondage to the beggarly elements 
of the natural world (Gal. iv. 9), so also the writer of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews adjures his fellow-churchmen to 
rise from the physical and the material into that pure 
region of eternity in which the spirit finds its congenial 

Yet a reader who had followed his argument with care 


and attention, and who might have been impressed by 
the cogency of his reasoning, could none the less object 
although the flank of this objection is, in fact, strategically 
turned in the eleventh chapter, the great chapter on 
Faith and the Heroes of Faith, which is familiar to us all, 
even if we have failed to grasp the nature of the argument 
to which it pertains the reader, as I say, could very 
plausibly object that, from this very demonstration, the 
conclusion might legitimately be drawn that, though 
Christianity is the heavenly religion, Judaism might be 
better fitted for us while here on earth. If less spiritual 
than Christianity, the old religion was at least more 
tangible and familiar, and conceded more to human 
weakness; and, although its material character might 
stamp it as transitory and provisional, yet a full recogni- 
tion that it was superseded in heaven might still be com- 
patible with the view that it ought to be maintained on 
earth, as a practical religion adapted to the environment 
in which we actually live. 

Why (it might be asked) should we expect in so imper- 
fect a world to have a perfect religion ? And why should 
we, who are not spirit only, but body as well, reject a 
religion because it is material ? When all is said and done, 
we, too, are transitory creatures of this age, denizens of 
this world ; and while we remain so, is it not more sensible 
that we should practise a religion in harmony with, and 
appropriate to, the conditions of our existence here 
below, rather than a religion appropriate to the somewhat 
hypothetical conditions of the world to come ? 

Let it be said here in parenthesis that such an objection 
exhibits a total misunderstanding, not only of the doctrine 
of the Incarnation (the Word made flesh), but also of 
the sacramental principle, whereby material objects 
water, bread, and wine are utilized by the power of 


God to convey an inward and spiritual grace of which 
they are, by His divine ordinance, the outward and 
visible sign. That is what Archbishop William Temple 
meant when he said in his Gifford Lectures that 
Christianity is 'the most avowedly materialist of all the 
great religions.' 1 

But that, for the moment, is a side-issue. My purpose 
now is to pick up the argument of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews at this point, and to extend it in a different 
direction. Perhaps you have already anticipated what 
I am going to say next. For, from the question 'Is it not 
more sensible that we should practise a religion adapted 
to the conditions of this world, rather than a religion 
appropriate to the world to come?' there follows, very 
naturally and logically, the supplementary question: 
'And is not this in fact the sort of religion bj which you and I are 
actually living?' Or, to put the question in another way: 
'You call yourself a Christian. You are, in fact, a prac- 
tising member of the Church of England. But, apart 
from this, what is the difference between you and your 
neighbours who do not go to church or say their prayers ?' 

Of course, by this stage in the history of Western 
Christendom, the situation has become confused. There 
is no longer as there was under the Roman Empire, 
and as there still is in the Mission field a sharp, a vivid, 
and a dramatic contrast between the Christians on the 
one hand, and pagan society on the other. Christianity 
has operated like leaven in the evolution of our culture, 
so that (for example) in the West to-day the Christian 
ideal of marriage, which was once so revolutionary a 
conception of the married state, is now taken for granted 
even by those who do not share the faith on which it 

1 W. Temple, Nature, Man and God (1934), p. 478- 


rests, and to whom the language of the Form of Solemni- 
zation, of Matrimony in our Prayer Book, about God 
having 'consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an 
excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented 
the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and His 
Church,' 1 must be totally incomprehensible. Conversely 
for there has been both give and take what are 
technically known as the Four Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, 
Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance or Self- Control), 
as distinct from the Three Theological Virtues of Faith, 
Hope, and Charity, have been taken over by Christianity 
from the highest and the noblest ideals of pagan classical 
philosophy in general, and of Stoicism in particular. 
You will find them in the Apocrypha (Wisd. viii. 7), 
where the very enumeration of them reveals the influence 
upon later Jewish thought of its contact with Hellenistic 
culture: but somehow they do not belong to the straight 
line of development, nor to the native idiom either of the 
Law or of the Gospel. Indeed, both in the realm of 
thought and in the realm of conduct, there has been so 
considerable a degree of mutual assimilation during the 
intervening centuries that the frontiers between Chris- 
tianity and Paganism have become inextricably blurred. 
It may be too much to say that in the England, or the 
Cambridge, of to-day there is not much to choose between 
Christians and non-Christians: but it is no exaggeration 
to say that, to the casual observer, they appear to behave 
very much alike, except on Sundays. 

In a paper on e The Contemporary Social Environment 
of Christianity' which was read to the Modern Church- 
men's Conference at Bristol in 1952, a Liberal theologian 
observed: 'It has been said of the Churches that they 
were feudal under feudalism, capitalist under capitalism, 
1 Gf. Ephesians v, 22-32. 


and socialist under socialism. This may not necessarily 
be a criticism, for to be adaptable to a new environment 
is sometimes the means of directing it; but it rather 
suggests a lack of prophetic testimony (which is the breath 
of vital religion), and a desperate anxiety not to offend. 5 
On this it is permissible to comment, first, that the epigram 
as quoted contains a most palpable confusion of terms, 
for feudalism was a social structure, capitalism is an 
economic technique, and socialism is a political theory; 
second, that it is not particularly true; and thirdly, 
that the word 'prophetic 5 requires some further definition, 
unless we are to assume that it means that it is the business, 
or part of the business, of bishops and other dignitaries 
of the Church to make periodical pronouncements about 
sociology, politics, and economics; which is indeed the 
meaning that has lately come to be attached to it, and 
which, if carried to its logical conclusions, would justify 
us in censuring St. Paul for his personal failure in 
'prophetic testimony/ for he nowhere denounces the 
institution of slavery. However, although the epigram 
is evidently worthless, yet it is not altogether without 
significance that such taunts should be levelled against 
'organized Christianity 5 (if I may borrow a foolish and 
unmeaning phrase which is now happily outmoded). 
And moreover and this is surely the real point it 
is a question how far the Church (which means, the 
Christians) can be adaptable to a new environment 
without compromising in some measure those principles 
and standards which are peculiarly its own. 

According to the Bible (Titus ii. 14: cf. Deut. xiv. 2), 
we are c a peculiar people. 5 In practice, we are very 
much like everybody else. Of course I know that the word 
'peculiar 5 in that context means very much what we mean 
by 'proprietary, 5 and implies only that in a unique and 


distinctive sense, we belong to God : but even this suggests 
that somehow in the way we think and in the way that 
we behave we ought to be more different from other 
people than in fact we are. What is there to distinguish 
us from them? 

There are, indeed, certain principles or doctrines of a 
generally anti-social character, involving an open non- 
conformity with the world, which have from time to time 
arisen from within the Church, such as Communism, 
Puritanism, and Pacifism; but these the Church has 
always officially repudiated (as in Articles XXXVII 
and XXXVIII of our Thirty-nine Articles), although 
without unduly tyrannizing over individual consciences. 
Where the State is officially Christian or neutral in 
religion, the Church has not made difficulties, except 
where its own legitimate interests are concerned. From 
the beginning, even in the days of the Roman Empire 
(Rom. xiii. 1-7; i Pet. ii. 13-17), we have accepted it as 
part of our duty as Christians to be good citizens. Apart 
from our attendance at public worship, we have no 
peculiar habits that a visitor from another planet might 
observe: we use no esoteric vocabulary, we wear no 
distinctive garb unlike, for example, the Quakers in 
the England of the eighteenth century, whose speech 
and dress and usages made them, in the phrase of Bernard 
Manning, c a semi-monastic order in lay society.' 1 How- 
ever profound our religious convictions may be, we talk 
about our religion very little; less, indeed, than about 
almost any other of our interests in life. We wear no 
livery and no badge, except the cross upon our foreheads 
with which we were signed in baptism; and that is 
invisible except to God and His angels. To the human 

1 B. L. Manning, The Protestant Dissenting Deputies (1952), p. 20. 


eye we are indistinguishable from men and women of 
the world. 

And yet our other experiences and avocations leave their 
mark upon us. If you are sitting opposite a total stranger 
in a railway carriage, you can often guess that he is an 
army officer or a naval officer in mufti. If you are staying 
in a hotel on holiday, you can often recognize a school- 
master (or, more easily, a brace of schoolmasters) among 
your fellow guests. Although nowadays it has become 
hard to tell whether a man was at a public school or 
not, it is sometimes possible to distinguish an Old Etonian 
from a Wykehamist; and if you meet someone who was 
educated at one of the older universities, it is not generally 
very difficult to tell whether he is an Oxford or a Cam- 
bridge man. It is true indeed that all these brands are 
gradually effaced in time, and eventually become almost 
unrecognizable. But, in a nominally Christian country, 
there is seldom anything of this sort to differentiate 
the Christian from the pagan. 

All this, I think with all that it implies is genuinely 
puzzling and disquieting, and I do not pretend to know 
the answer to it. But sometimes it is the function of the 
preacher to describe problems rather than to solve them. 
And here is a very real problem the problem of our 
ostensible conformity to this world. Is it natural? Is it 
inevitable? Is it wrong'? I would beg you, every one of 
you, to make time to go into this question, and to do it 
on your knees before Almighty God; and the question 
is this: c ls there anything that I do because I am a 
Christian, which the ordinary decent respectable children 
of this world do not do because they are not Christians ? 
Is there anything that I do not do because I am a Christian, 
which the ordinary decent respectable children of this 


world do because they are not Christians? Or is my 
religion purely nominal, a matter of superficial habit, 
which causes me very little inconvenience ? Is my whole 
life a sort of organized hypocrisy, which is the more 
dangerous precisely because it is unconscious ? Do I keep 
one religion a practical religion for this world, and 
another a rather theoretical religion for the world to 
come?' Each one of us must answer these questions for 
himself, because nobody else can do it for us, and it 
has got to be done, probably more than once in a life- 
time, and the sooner the better. I may, however, suggest 
very briefly three considerations as bearing on the general, 
and therefore also on the individual problem, which 
perhaps may help. 

(1) Our Lord said: 'Render unto Caesar the things 
which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are 
God's.* Deliberately He did not define either the former 
or the latter, nor did He suggest that the differences 
between them are clearly demarcated, so that they cannot 

(2) St. Paul tells us that our citizenship the word is 
wrongly translated 'conversation 5 is in heaven (Phil, 
iii. 20, R.V.}. Our ultimate Sovereign is God: we belong 
to Him. And this means two things. 

It means, first, that when anyone who is known to be 
a Christian and this is most conspicuously true in the 
case of a priest, but it is true also of the laity when 
anyone who is publicly identified as a Christian commits 
a criminal offence, the scandal created and the harm 
done the scandal principally outside the Church, and 
the harm principally within it is incomparably greater 
than if the same offence had been committed by anyone 
who was not known to be a Christian, or was known not 


to Jbe a Christian. In spite of everything that I have said 
hitherto, in the eyes of the world we are marked men. 

And it means also, in the second place, that, because 
we are not conformed to this world but transformed by 
the renewing of our minds through regular communion 
with God in sacrament and prayer, therefore our standards 
of judgement are different from those of the world, even 
when we arrive at the same conclusions. For example, English- 
men (unlike most other Europeans, especially beyond the 
Danube or the Pyrenees) have an ingrained dislike of 
violence, except possibly and occasionally as a deterrent 
to violence. But our motives as Englishmen for disliking 
violence are, historically and otherwise, different from 
our motives as Christians for disliking violence, although 
these two sets of motives are not wholly unrelated and do 
in fact concur. So, all along the line, the values of the 
children of this world are different in kind from those of 
even the most simple Christian. The world likes the 
'good mixer,' at least until he is old enough to become a 
bore: the Christian instinctively recognizes and admires 
the saint. The two things that, more than any other, 
damn a man in the eyes of the world, are to be a bad son 
to his mother, or to be rude to servants. The Christian 
certainly does not condone such conduct, which is as un- 
Christian as it is unloving or ungentlemanly; but he 
relates it to its fundamental causes. He practises self- 
examination on the basis, not of the conduct of a gentle- 
man, but of the Seven Deadly Sins, which are more 
definite, and also wider in their social reference: Pride, 
Avarice, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth. These 
categories of misconduct in thought and deed are by no 
means unintelligible to the man of the world ; but they 
cannot mean to him the same thing that they mean to the 
Christian, because he has not the $ame sense of the mean- 


ing of sin. To the man of the world,, sin is essentially 
anti-social behaviour. To the Christian, it is like driving 
a nail into the hands of Christ upon the Cross. 

(3) And here, finally, we come to the fundamental 
difference between the religious and the irreligious 
man, between the Christian and the pagan. It is some- 
thing that goes very deep, and which influences and 
conditions and has influenced and has conditioned 
all our thought and all our conduct perhaps more pro- 
foundly and more comprehensively than we shall ever 
know; and, humanly speaking, it is the only thing that 
can preserve us, my brothers, from sinking into the 
slough of worldliness. The real and fundamental differ- 
ence between the religious and the irreligious man is 
that the religious man knows his need of a Saviour : and 
the other does not. 

The Right Rev. STEPHEN F. BAYNE, JR. 

c . . . a house divided against a house falleth . . . when a stronger than he shall come 
upon him y and overcome him, he takethfrom him all his armour wherein he trusted, 
and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me.* 

ST. LUKE xi. 17, 22-23. 

HERE are two sayings about conflict. One is our Lord's 
answer to a foolish criticism. The charge is made 
of Him by hostile witnesses, who have seen Him casting 
out a devil, who do not like what they have seen, and 
who accuse Him of being in league with evil Himself. 
'He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of 
the devils.' 

They are betrayed by their own hostility into making 
an idiotic charge. And His response is clear and simple 
and obvious. What they are suggesting is civil war. 
C A house divided against a house falleth'; if evil be 
divided against itself, then evil will destroy itself. This is 
nonsense; and their accusation is nonsense. 

And then He continues with the theme. They have 
begun the dialogue ; He will finish it. For it is not merely 
a controversy about any particular healing. They have, 
without knowing it, without at all intending to, opened a 
door into a profound secret of God's action in human life. 
Very well; if they start on that path they must continue 
to the end with it. So He leads them step by step first 
to look again at what any healing is anywhere, by any- 
body then to face honestly the enormous new healing 
power which is at work in Him, a power so unmistakably 
great that it can only be the power of the Kingdom of 



God already at work among them finally, to contem- 
plate deeply and with new and thoughtful eyes the whole 
amazing manner of God's way with us. 'When a stronger 
than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he 
taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and 
divideth his spoils.' 

For nothing less than this is what lies at the end of the 
passage. The 'strong man armed' is any man; and the 
'stronger than he' is, in the final analysis, none other than 
the Lord Himself. If those who cavil at His healing power 
will only look at it honestly and see it for what it is, they 
will be brought to see an infinitely greater miracle His 
explosive invasion and capture of a human soul. 

Yet both sayings, so widely different in their setting, 
are alike sayings about conflict. And 'conflict' is an un- 
clean and suspect word in our time. Our psychologizers 
for a generation have warned us against conflict in the 
human spirit. Conflict is the enemy of 'adjustment.' 
Peace of mind is what we need and seek, not the stress 
and pain of conflict. 

Very well, let that be as it may; the fact is that our 
Lord did not come to send peace; the fact is that it is 
not part of the Christian faith that people should be 
comfortably 'adjusted 5 ; the fact is that conflict is, from 
beginning to end, irrevocably and certainly the means 
by which any human life is lived or comes to have any 
point; the fact is that conflict is the chief tool God uses 
in getting His work done in us. 

That is what I mean to say. Now let me start again, 
where He began, to show why I want to say it. What 
began the dialogue was the healing of a dumb man, a 
man possessed of an evil spirit so powerful as even to 
imprison him within the walls of silence. Perhaps you 
have seen such a person in a hospital somewhere? A 


man or woman so profoundly sunk in himself that no 
door to the outward world remains? Physicians who 
minister to the mentally sick are familiar with such a 
depression, a depression so deep that it usurps and absorbs 
the whole of a personality. There is no will or energy 
or ability to think of anything except oneself, no other 
self can penetrate, no other self is real enough to break in, 
one is possessed. 

And such a one is healed, is set free from this possession, 
and once again the crystal stream of words flows and 
sparkles, and a human community exists again. And they 
marvel, but not all, for some are jealous; and so the 
accusation of necromancy is made. Only an evil spirit 
could be so strong as to overcome this evil spirit. It is 
an absurd accusation. Perhaps they know this even as 
it is made. But the response is swift and clear if evil 
destroys evil, then evil itself would have no power; the 
charge is absurd. 

And this they understand, perforce. For they know 
that even in the human soul this is true a man cannot 
be divided within himself. If he is, if his motives war 
against each other, if his purposes collide, if he wants 
contradictory things, then he is trapped. He is nobody, 
he is no more than the powerless victim of his conflicting 
impulses. And if this is so with us, how much more must 
it be so with the great power$ of the universe. 

Conflict is death and destruction. This is plain to see. 
*A house divided' will not stand. What they have wit- 
nessed is no black magic; it is the unconquerable healing 
power of God, invading and destroying the power of 
evil, and setting this soul free. 'No doubt the Kingdom 
of God is come upon you.' 

But He does not leave it there. What they have seen is 
the despoiling of the strong man armed. He kept his 



palace; he trusted that his goods were in peace; but 
there was One stronger than he who came upon him and 
overcame him. This is conflict again, this invasion and 
overturning of a man's own self. But this conflict is not 
death and destruction, it is the means of life. For it is 
not civil war within the kingdom of evil it is the King- 
dom of God coming upon us, to heal and to save. Woe 
to us if we do not choose this conflict ! 'He that is not 
with me is against me.' Yet conflict it is, as tough and 
bitter and hard-fought as any in life. There is no cheap 
and easy way to salvation. There is no painless way to be 
made strong and free, as if we could be converted in our 

The power of the Kingdom of God is not black magic. 
It is not magic at all. It is the deliberate conflict by which 
one kind of power is overthrown and destroyed by a 
totally different power. And it goes on within the strong- 
hold of a man's own self, this 'palace' we keep so care- 
fully. It cannot be a quarrel between evil and evil, 
for this is nonsense. It is a fight to the death between 
diametrical opposites. And the choice of this conflict 
is the fundamental choice men make. 

So Christ teaches. And I do not know many of His 
teachings which we resist more than this. In the first 
place, we do not really believe all this business about the 
civil war. Of course, it is obvious that a house can't be 
divided against itself. Abraham Lincoln was elected 
to the Presidency because of one speech he made, more 
than any other the famous 'House Divided' speech, 
in which he set it out so clearly that nobody could fail 
to see, that the United States could not endure indefinitely 
half-slave and half-free. Anybody can see that there must 
be unity within a nation, or within a human soul. 


But we have a most extraordinary capacity for self- 
deception about this. Sometimes we deceive ourselves 
by dividing ends from means by isolating what we want 
to accomplish from the way we intend to accomplish it, 
and then trying to balance off the 'good' at the end 
from the 'bad 5 involved in getting there. What does it 
matter, we say, what incidental wrong there may have 
been? It all came out in the end, and surely God is 
not going to sit in judgement like some tremendous book- 
keeper and add up all the little scores and balance them 
off against the great good at the end ? 

Of course He isn't. But the point is not that God 
is a book-keeper, but that we are; we are the ones who 
keep such meticulous score, as if life were a kind of bank 
where all that mattered was to avoid an overdraft. 
This is precisely the point. Life isn't that way at all; 
what a man does is not something separate from himself, 
like coins or tools. A man is what he does ; he carries his 
acts along with him; the means all add up to the ends, 
and the infection of evil stays in the tissues of his acts, 
and he cannot set himself free from it. 

If only God would be a book-keeper ! But He is at once 
more frightening and more wonderful than that. It is 
the whole man that He knows and measures, including 
all our fumbling and pathetic book-keeping, but going 
infinitely beyond that to see all the evil interwoven with 
the good to see the whole man exactly as we are, where 
we are. And the is exactly what we do not want. We 
want to deal with God as if He did keep a score, so that 
we can have this satisfaction of doing business at least 
as equals. And God has no intention of letting us deal 
with Him that way. 

Therefore no score, no book-keeping, no careful 
balancing of evils and goods, no weighing of ends against 


means, no civil war. A house divided against itself will 
not stand. 

No more can a man make himself better for wrong 
motives. How many self-improvement schemes we dabble 
in, in the course of our lives! How many times we 
resolve to change ourselves because we do not much like 
what we are or we think others do not much like what we 
seem to be. But what a dreary record of failure these 
schemes so often are, when they are nothing more than 
a pose, a bit of shabby acting as if we were something 
other than we are. It isn't the acting that does the harm, 
it is the reason why we act. All life is acting, in one sense. 
All life is doing things we ought to do whether or not 
they are convenient or natural to us. All life is playing 
a p ar t the part of the person we know we ought to be 
and want to be. That kind of acting is the noblest 
expression of a man's freedom, and of his obedience to 
what he knows he ought to be. 

But there is another reason for acting a part that is 
the deliberate attempt to deceive, by outward appear- 
ance, by word or deed, in order to appear what we are 
not and do not really want to be. You know this kind 
of acting well. The pious look, the Bible on the table, 
the conventional attendance at church, the elaborate 
humility with which we manage to suggest how much 
effort it has been to bring up our children, the casual 
reference to the rather generous support we have given 
to this or that cause . . . again, the acting is not the point; 
what was done may have been a good in itself; but where 
there is a schism in a man's soul, where what he wants 
is only the appearance of good, where he acts that he 
may seem diametrically different from what he really 
wants to be, where a man's soul is torn in civil war, then. 


how swiftly can the best deeds become shameful and dirty 
and mean. 

Let me help my neighbour in some quiet modest way 
this is a good. But let me cherish that act in my memory, 
let me take it home with me, casually let it slip to my 
family at dinner, set it on the mantelpiece of my soul to 
look at, put it in my prayers that God may set my account 
right again and what was simple and loving and good in 
an instant becomes a dark and evil thing. 

A house divided a kingdom divided they will not 
stand, nor will a human soul stand long, divided against 
itself. This is the kind of conflict that kills the spirit of 
man. Even the weakest and most foolish of us knows this. 
We hardly needed Christ to teach us this. 

Therefore Christ did not stop with saying that conflict 
is death and destruction. He went on to speak again of 
conflict, but to speak of it in terms of the invading and 
conquering power of God to heal and to redeem. This is 
harder for us to see, for it, too, looks like civil war, from 
the inside. If you let God into your life, there is no telling 
what He will not change in you. He will take possession, 
take control of you and all that is yours. Better keep Him 
at a distance give Him what He wants, pay Him the 
honour due, offer Him the conventional acts of a Christian 
society, agree with Him against the most spectacular 
sins, do anything a reasonable man can do, but don't 
let Him take over. 

Is this too unfair a sketch to draw of the conventional 
morality of conventional people? I don't think so; I 
know this kind of bargaining with God myself too well 
to be gentle with it. Like many another Christian, I 
have had to fight all my life for the freedom to make a true 
offering of myself to God, and I am under no illusion as 
to how seldom it is possible. 


Yet even the weakest of us really want Him to take over. 
Even the blindest of us and the least converted of us 
know how close He comes to taking over. Even against 
our wills, sometimes, He comes into the palace of our 
life, where we have arranged all our goods, in peace 
children and career and security and health and reputa- 
tion and in a moment He takes over, and we stand 
aghast at the One who is stronger than we are. Death 
comes; we lose a job; life makes us take some new and 
unknown path; we are suddenly called on to yield what 
we had hoped we might somehow keep for ourselves. . . . 
There is One stronger than us who is knocking at the door 
of our palace. And everything in us rebels against this, 
against the invasion, against the claims He makes on us. 

Why cannot we go along keeping and holding what is 
ours? Why must all our easy natural way of life be 
changed? Why must we say No' to instincts and hungers 
and desires which well up from the depths of our own 
nature ? Why accept this division in our own life ? 

I daresay that no Christian who has ever tried to keep 
Lent has not had a friend say to him, c Why do you do 
this ? Why do you hark back to these mediaeval ideas of 
discipline?' How many the voices that tell us that the 
discipline of the Christian is simply conflict, and it brings 
repressions and fears and all the other scars of conflict 
in its train? It is conflict; there is no discipline on earth 
which does not mean saying no when we want with 
all our hearts to say yes. But to say it is conflict is to say 
nothing of any importance. For this conflict is not a 
civil war; this is the persistent, loving, conquering invasion 
of the One stronger than us, who comes into our palace 
and takes over, to make all our possessions and all our 
instincts His own. 


This conflict, we know in our hearts, is not death at 
all it is the very means of life. But it is not any easier, 
all the same. 

I remember, in my first parish, in the very darkest days 
of the depression of the thirties, a man who came to the 
church just at dusk, and asked for help. He was not 
simply a beggar; he said that he had noticed how our 
lawn needed weeding said that he had been a gardener 
for a time, and that he would be glad to earn whatever 
I felt I could pay for a good job well done. So we struck 
a deal, and in a few days the job was done and he had 
rightly earned his food and shelter. But then, before I 
could say good-bye, he told me that once he had been a 
glazier, and that he had noticed that some of our windows 
were cracked, and that if I would carry on with him, he 
would repair them. And so he did, and for another few 
days kept body and soul together. And when the 
windows were repaired, then it was the roof, for he had 
done that work; and then it turned out that he had been 
a carpenter, and then a plumber, and so on and on 
before we were done, it turned out that he had been a 
cook, and he developed a thriving trade preparing parish 
suppers ! There was no way to get rid of him ; he simply 
took over; all that needed doing around our church 
was done, in a wonderfully gentle and somehow invincible 
spirit which was quite unforgettable. 

So it is with God. Let Him once in, and there is no 
help for it He simply takes over, and makes His own 
all that we had thought was ours. But it does not happen 
easily, nor cheaply. There is conflict in it, and cost, 
and discipline. But it is not the conflict of a weak and 
divided soul. It is the conflict of a strong soul, strong 
enough to open the door of his life and let to the Stronger 


than he come in, to reorder his life, and make it what it 
ought to be. 

Christianity is for strong people. It is a strong man's 
faith. It is conflict. But it is the conflict of a man fighting 
for the freedom to give himself wholeheartedly and with 
a single mind to that which is not only stronger than he, 
but that which he desires more than anything else in the 
world. There is no use our deceiving ourselves that 
peace of mind and unity of spirit can come merely by 
being pleasant and relaxed. Lent and all it stands for 
all the conflict and cost of a strong man's discipline 
these things are not sentimental mediaevalisms. They are 
not for weak and flabby people. 

That's why our Lord ended His little discourse with 
such an uncompromising and frightening phrase. 'He 
that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth 
not with Me scattereth. 3 There is no use trying to edit 
this kind of tough honesty out of the Christian religion. 
What we need to pray for is not a religion without 
pain or cost; what we need to pray for is the sturdy 
courage to open the door to the One who is stronger than 
we, and to let Him come in and make us over. This is 
the timeless lesson of Christian discipline. It is a lesson 
in freedom, really, even though the world looks at us 
with astonishment because we call it freedom. To the 
sceptic outside, it looks like a divided house when a 
man says c no' when he wants to say c yes,' an -d he closes 
doors that everything in nature bids him open. But this 
is no rebellion. This is the strong man welcoming the 
Stronger, the free man choosing the Master he means 
to serve. As it was with Christ so it is with us. The 
forty days of His Lent, like our own, are the days of 
strength. The way of the Cross is the way of strength. 


Then welcome this conflict with all your hearts, that 
your hearts may be single and whole, and not divided. 
For a house divided against itself cannot stand ; and only 
the strong can choose to be whole. 


*He came unto his own, and his own received him not.* ST. JOHN i. n. 

TO turn away a stranger from your door may not 
be a very kind or Christian thing to do; yet it may 
sometimes be a prudent, even a necessary thing to do. 
In any case it is understandable, and on human grounds 
excusable after all, the man is a stranger; he has no 
possible claim on you. Politely, but firmly, you refuse 
him entrance, and send him away. 

But suppose there comes, unexpectedly, to your 
door, a friend or relation you have not seen for years, or 
one who is a stranger to you but who carries letters or 
greetings from someone you know and love, or one whom 
you have been told by your friends to expect, even 
suppose a son who has long left home in disgrace. If 
any of these came to your door, would you turn them 

Certainly not. Even if you were not particularly 
pleased, you would recognize that your visitor had a 
claim on you. If you could not show him love, you would 
at least be just. In some sense you would feel that he 
had come to his own. 

But when Jesus Christ came, His own received Him 
not. Who were His own? Well, the whole world is His 
own, and certainly the world did not receive Him, and 
has not to this day. Mankind is His own: His favourite 
name for Himself was Son of Man, but among the sons 
of men He found nowhere to lay His head. 



But when St. John says : c His own received Him not' 
he was thinking of the Jews. They were God's chosen 
race whom he had prepared through many centuries 
to expect and receive Him. And when He came to His 
own, His very own people, His own received Him not. 

There was no room for Him in the inn at Bethlehem, 
His human family home. There was no room for Him 
in the synagogue at Nazareth, the home of His childhood 
and young manhood. Indeed the people of Nazareth 
not only rejected Him; they tried to kill Him. 

And now He comes to Jerusalem, on what we call 
Palm Sunday. Of course, He had been there before many 
times, but this was a special occasion. He did what He 
had never done before; He made a deliberately dramatic 

By ordinary worldly standards it was perhaps a slightly 
comic or ridiculous entry. A Roman soldier in a well- 
known Passion Play, witnessing this entry, and hearing 
the crowd hail Jesus as King, comments : c A King on a 
ruddy donkey.' A white charger or a triumphal chariot 
would have seemed more appropriate to Him and, I 
expect, to you and me. But the pious Jewish pilgrims 
recognized this entry for what it was; the fulfilment of a 
prophecy. A verse out of the prophet Zechariah had 
suddenly come to life: 'Rejoice greatly O daughter of 
Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy king 
cometh unto thee: He is just and having salvation; lowly, 
and riding upon an ass/ So Zion rejoiced, and Jerusalem 
shouted: 'Blessed be the King that cometh in the Name 
of the Lord. Hosanna to the Son of David.' 

At last they recognize Him for who He is. He has come 
unto His own, and His own receive Him. There is no 
knowing what hopes and joys those pilgrims felt that day. 
Jesus went, as would be expected, to the Temple. Would 


He there claim His rights, enthrone Himself on the 
mercy-seat and rule the world in righteousness and peace? 
Would all the prophecies come true ? Had the good time 
promised really come at last? 

You and I know that their hopes were disappointed. 
His kingdom was not to be of this world ; His victory not 
over the Romans, but over sin and death; His triumphal 
entry made, into heaven, by means of a wooden cross. 
His own received Him as a King even, since the prophet 
so foretold it, as a humble and lowly King. But a suffering 
King, a King who would accept a slave's death amid the 
mockery of His enemies, a king who would draw down 
on Himself the curse of the Law, by hanging on a tree ? 
'Write not' said the Jewish high priest. 'Write not: 
the King of the Jews; but that he said I am the King of 
the Jews.' 

His own received Him not. 

And you and I, who are very much His own do we 
receive Him? or not? Our reply is, 'Of course we receive 
Him: we would not turn Christ from our door.' 

Pray God that may be true. No doubt it is true. 
We have received Him in Baptism, in Holy Com- 
munion, in Absolution, in Christian fellowship, in the 
Bible, in the lives of others, in answer to prayer. 
All that is true. My heart most gladly takes in the 
Babe of Bethlehem, the strong compassionate prophet 
of Nazareth yes, and the resplendent Christ of Easter 
morning. But before we reach that morning we must 
keep Holy Week. In Holy Week the Church calls us to 
pass through the valley of the shadow of death with 
our Lord. And if we are to receive the Christ of Holy 
Week we must be prepared for two things. 

First, we must be ready to share His suffering; not 
literally we cannot do that but we must be prepared 


both to suffer for our loyalty to Him, and to receive and 
embrace all the pains and sorrows of life as our share in 
the one great sacrifice which redeems the world. 

Secondly, in receiving the Christ of Holy Week we 
receive the conqueror of sin, and from this we shrink 
even more than from sharing His pains. For if there is 
really to be room for Him in my heart, then there is 
much that must be cast out of my heart sins that I 
must allow Him to conquer and kill. 

It is all very well to hail Him with glad Hosannas on 
Palm Sunday. He has come to reign not on an earthly 
throne, but in your soul and mine. And before He can 
reign there, the present occupant of that throne myself 
must abdicate. 


'Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord.* ST. LUKE xix. 38. 

A YEAR ago it fell to me to preach on Palm Sunday 
to a congregation of boys of a Borstal school. What 
should it, or could it, mean to the young delinquent there ? 

It would not be difficult to paint in words a picture of 
Palm Sunday in Jerusalem. The scene lends itself to it. 
But what does it all add up to for a Borstal boy? Or, 
indeed, for you and me, at such a long remove? In a 
way, the more clearly we can visualize that actual entry 
into that ancient city, the greater danger we are in of 
resting in a distant scene without asking what it means 
for us. 

Suppose that one talked first, then, not about palm 
branches and clothes spread in the way, but of how men 
make journeys, sometimes with risks involved. Of how 
those, for example, who plan an expedition, will allow 
at times for a point which, once passed, permits of no 
return: when stores or fuel will cover only the bare 
distance between two places, then, once beyond a certain 
point on the way, you are past the point of no return. 

Such a point beyond all going back was passed on 
Palm Sunday. Jerusalem once entered, and entered 
publicly as it was, physically there might be a turning 
back: morally, unless a situation changed in certain 
ways, there could be no return without the resignation 
of a whole life's journey's end. 

If, then, we ask what brought this man on this day 
past this point at the entrance to Jerusalem, there is an 



answer which at first seems vague but is, for all that, 
literally and precisely true. Jesus was brought there by 
his love for sinners. From the beginning, the religious 
men of Jerusalem had resented his association with the 
disreputable : intolerable had been his insistence that they 
might even enter heaven first: quite understandably, on 
their own premises, the religious men had cried out that 
this was at its heart subversion. Yet he had gone on 
mixing with these publicans and sinners. Had he 
remained outside Jerusalem, that would perhaps have 
been all: to enter that city was to pass the point of no 
return in his concern for the outsider. As you read the 
Gospels you may see that Jesus died quite literally for 
his love for sinners. 

Does Palm Sunday, then, tell us simply of one more 
man _there had been others before, there have been 
others since who went on, further he could not go, 
because there was for him no going back upon the chosen 
pattern of his life ? 

Suppose, on the other hand, that what the Gospel 
asserts is true: that this man was the Son of God? What 
then? Does God Himself, in the Person of His Son, go 
in His love for sinners past the point of no return? Will 
God go with us all the way, although, since men's sinful- 
ness, the sinfulness of sinners and the sinfulness of 
righteous men, my sinfulness and your sinfulness, is 
what it is, His going with us takes Christ to the Gross? 
If I have made my bed in Hell, will God in Christ have 
been there too? 

The Gospel says no less, to the Borstal boy, and to you 
and me. 

In a novel which has seemed to me in recent days 
to have, in its compassionate understanding of a con- 
temporary agony of spirit, no less in it of the Cross 


than many an explicitly 'Lenten' book for Pierre- 
Henri Simon's Portrait of an Officer describes the turmoil 
of a man who moves through a changing pattern of 
war, in Europe, Indo- China, Algeria, to the point at 
which he must make his final abnegation since he has 
inquired the end of his journey there is this picture 
of a day when war had still its chivalry. His tank 
knocked out, the French officer crawls out of it, wounded, 
to be picked up by his German enemy, who hoists him 
on the front of his own vehicle. * "I'll drop you off at the 
first regimental aid-post we come across. . . ." He got 
back into his turret, and ordered the tank to move on. . . . 
Then we came to a road and had to follow it as far as a 
bridge over a canal. It was a nasty place because the 
French artillery was concentrating on this unavoidable 
route. The German subaltern stopped his tank, got out, 
and said to me: "As you see, there's quite a bit of shelling; 
I'm not in much danger in my turret; but you might 
catch it here in front. . . . I'll put you down here, and 
you'll soon be picked up." But I told him I was bleeding 
a great deal, and that if I didn't find a doctor in the next 
half-hour, it would be too late. Taking it all in all, I 
said, I'd rather go on with him. "Just as you please/' 
he said. And then this soldier, this enemy, made the 
most splendid and noble gesture I've ever heard of. 
Instead of getting back into his turret, he climbed up 
in front and sat beside me, telling his driver to drive on. 
And so we drove through the shelling, under a hail of 
splinters, comrades in war, and with an equal chance of 
death.' 1 

If Palm Sunday has anything to tell us about God, 
it tells us, astonishingly, that God deals with us like that. 

1 Pierre-Henri Simon, Portrait of an Officer, trans. Humphrey Hare ? 
Seeker and Warburg, 1961, pp. 18-19. 



God puts Himself at man's side in the face of death, 
the death that comes from man's stupidity and sin, and 
God, in Jesus Christ, goes all the way with us. So Christ 
goes on, and dies. 

And now, having shared with you these thoughts of 
what a preacher might find to say on Palm Sunday to 
people in a particular situation of need, and yet a situa- 
tion which we all share for all of us are equally beggars 
before God, and that was the offence of Christ's teaching 
to the righteous of this world I will ask you to go with 
me one step farther. 

God, in Christ, goes with men past the point of no 
return, although men's sinfulness may take Christ to the 
Cross. Here, then, is, indeed, a royal love for men. It is 
of the royalty of that love that I would have you think. 

When the German officer in the novel put himself 
alongside the man exposed outside the turret of his tank, 
here, we might say, was a royal act of sympathy, an action 
such that the Frenchman could only say of it afterwards, 
'Known or unknown, alive or dead, whether I kill him 
or he me, one thing is sure, I shall never have a better 
friend in all the world.' Such, we might say, was Christ's 
love: a more princely love, a sympathy more kingly and 
more generous, we have never known. 

All that, indeed, the Christian says; but he must say 
something more. 

When the Gospel writers point to the hosannas of the 
crowd, 'Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of 
the Lord,' what is the truth behind the salutation, 
however, quite, the crowd saw their salutation? When 
Jesus stands before Pilate and hears the question 'Art 
Thou the King of the Jews?' and answers 'Thou sayest,' 
and will not deny that He is King, so that the soldiers 
take the point and dress Him in ribaldry as a king, a 


mock-up crown on His head, and a mock-up sceptre 
in His hand ; when Pilate puts upon the Cross the inscrip- 
tion The King of the Jews' and will not qualify that title 
for all the importunity of the Jews behind all the irony 
of a disbelieving world one thing stands clear: there 
was an issue here: King, or not a king? We have to do 
not simply with a person who was regal in His attitude 
before His accusers and His judges, though He was 
that; nor simply with a man who was in the place He 
was because of a royal love for sinners such that in their 
better moments they might say of Him c No man could 
have loved us more.' We are faced with a claim to 9, king- 
ship, a claim accepted by Jesus when put to Him in 
those words, a claim disputed by His enemies, and 
disputed by them in His blood. 

It meets us, this, at every point in the events of those 
last days in Jerusalem. It meets us in the question put 
to Him, 'By what authority doest thou these things? 5 
It is implicit, if we will think it out, in the question of 
the tribute-money, and his answer. c ls it lawful to give 
tribute to Caesar? . . .' And He saith unto them 'Whose 
is this image and superscription?' And they said unto 
Him, c Caesar's.' And Jesus answering said unto them, 
'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to 
God the things that are God's.' And because they were 
not honest inquirers they did not stop to ask Him 'But 
what things, then, are God's?' Caesar's image on the 
tribute-coin claims the coin as Caesar's; is there any- 
thing with God's image on it to claim it as God's own? 
Had they asked that, they would have penetrated to the 
heart of things. For God created man in His image, 
Christ would remind us, and in the image of God created 
He man: and so God claims him, all that he is, and all 
that he does, including what he rightly does for Caesar, 


all of man and all n*en, the sovereign Lord of all creation 
claims as uniquely His own. 

Here is indeed the heart of the matter : and here is the 
spring of Christ's love for men. Christ's love for them is 
not quite simply a man's sentiment of sympathy, as 
though Jesus was just built that way, to sympathize. 
Christ's love for men is God active on earth in word and 
deed as man among men to claim all men, righteous men, 
as the world sees them, and sinful men, alike, as His own. 

Think, then, of the love of Jesus going all the way with 
men. But do not so think of it as to leave out of account 
the deeper truth on which it stands, the truth that Christ 
in the name of the sovereign God claims us for ever as 
God's own. And when God, the All-Holy, claims you so, 
in all that you are and all that you do, there is God's 
royal love for you. 

But then do you see this for the frightening thing that 
it is? I cannot think of an all-holy God claiming me 
for Himself, without thinking with what eyes He will 
behold me when I stand before Him, the sinner that I 
am, with Him, all-holy, claiming me. 

Yet on Good Friday, in the face of all our sin, this 
righteous God claimed us as His own. In the turmoil of the 
Cross, in the face of all that cried out to deny that we 
are His, in judgement of this sin of ours that denied it 
and denies it, by God at man's side to the uttermost in 
Christ that victorious claim was staked. 

This is the truth that we are thrust against in Holy 
Week. And in Holy Week, therefore, and on Gopd 
Friday in particular, the Church must speak not only of 
God's love God's dearest love for all but of God's 
holy love. It must speak of sin, and of righteousness, 
and of judgement, as part of the message of God's love. 
e lf we spoke less about God's love,' says that great 


interpreter of the Cross, Peter Taylor Forsyth, 'and more 
about His holiness, we should say much more when we 
did speak of His love.' 

It is a holy love, a righteous love, a royal and a kingly 
love that, going with men beyond all turning back on 
them, will claim us sinners as God's own. Blessed, then, 
be this Christ, the King that cometh in the name of the 

The Rev. KENNETH N. Ross 

* And they compel one passing by, Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, the 
father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross S 

ST. MARK xv. 2 1 . 

HOW Simon must have hated it! A pious Jew, he 
had made the long journey from Tripoli in North 
Africa in order to be able to eat the Passover at the most 
sacred place in the whole world, Jerusalem. He had 
arrived in good time, he had seen the sights of the Holy 
City, he had attended the daily sacrifices in the Temple, 
he had admired the immense blocks of stone which were 
being used for the completion of the great edifice, and, 
every night, weary with the day's excitement, he had left 
Jerusalem for the farm in the little village not far from 
the city, where he was staying. Just as Jesus and His 
followers lodged at Bethany over the Festival, so Simon 
had his quiet place of retreat, where he would rest after 
the hectic activities of the day. On this never-to-be-for- 
gotten day, he had risen early, and set out to go into the 
city. The slaughter of the Paschal lambs would not take 
place until the early afternoon, but there was much to 
see and do in the meanwhile, in particular to notice 
the gradual cessation of all work as the day advanced, 
until by midday all the shops were shut. 

He had just got to the gate of the city, when the clatter 
of hobnails was heard on the cobbles. Roman soldiers 
were approaching, and so Simon moves to one side of 
the gate until they have gone by. As it is early on a 
festival morning there is hardly anyone else about. 



The steps approach, and he sees that three criminals are 
being led out for crucifixion. Each one is carrying the 
crossbeam on which within an hour his body will be 
hanging. It is a grim sight to meet one's gaze on Passover 
day, and Simon could not refrain from catching his 
breath. As the prisoners come up to him, one of them 
falls. A soldier kicks the prostrate figure, but he does not 
move. At last he is pulled to his feet, but it is obvious 
that he can scarcely walk, let alone carry the heavy 
crossbeam. The officer in charge doesn't know what 
to do, for it is out of the question that any of his soldiers 
should carry the thing. Then his eye falls on the sturdy 
figure of Simon. 'Hey, you there; in the name of the 
Emperor I command you to carry this cross to Golgotha 
instead of the prisoner.' There is no getting out of it, 
and Simon bends down to pick the beam up. It was 
ignominious in the extreme to be forced into such a task; 
and on Passover day above all others. How Simon must 
have hated it! 

'If any man would come after Me, let him deny him- 
self, and take up his cross, and follow Me.' Yes, but 
Simon didn't want to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus, 
he had no desire to be a Christian. Yet he had to bear 
a cross all the same. Willy nilly the cross was thrust 
upon him; the only alternatives open to him were accept- 
ing it willingly and accepting it unwillingly. He could 
carry it, cursing his bad luck at every step, and wishing 
that he had decided to come into the city later in the 
morning, or he could carry it, accepting the duty that 
had been forced upon him, and even welcoming the 
opportunity of lowering his pride and self-conceit. 

I wonder in what sort of spirit we receive the many 
different trials and troubles that visit us ? Some come to us 
as a result of our own fooli$hness and sinfulness; if you 


spend your money recklessly and don't plan your ex- 
penditure, you ought not to be surprised to find the 
bailiffs on your doorstep one morning. But some troubles 
arise from other people's sins; you may be carefully 
saving money for the future, and then the bank which 
holds your money defaults. Other troubles occur as a 
result, apparently, of sheer bad luck; it is often nobody's 
fault if the crops turn out badly one year. What is our 
attitude to these different troubles? 

Many people, I am afraid, blame fortune or God 
even for the results of their stupidity. They are like the 
small boy whom I saw fall over in the street a few days 
ago. He hadn't been looking where he was going, and 
so he tumbled over. When he got up again, rather tearful, 
he cast such an angry look at the ground; he clearly 
thought that the pavement had no right to make his 
knees hurt so much when he fell down. What a common 
human weakness that is! We go round telling spiteful 
tales about our friends, and then complain bitterly 
when, at long last, they turn against us. What a lot of 
spoilt children there are, yes, and spoilt parents too, who 
behave with quite abominable selfishness, and then 
co'mplain that everyone is against them. Like one of the 
thieves who suffered with our Saviour, we appeal for 
help, only to be reminded by our friends, our candid 
friends, that we can hardly expect help, Tor we receive 
the due reward of our deeds.' It's no good upbraiding 
God: we suffer because we deserve to suffer. What we 
must do is to recognize this, and then we may presume 
to add, 'Jesus, remember me when Thou comest in Thy 
kingdom.' As the Collect (Lent IV) says, for our evil 
deeds we worthily deserve to be punished; but admitting 
that, we go on to appeal that by the comfort of God's 
grace we may mercifully be relieved. 


But it is more difficult to bear the various afflicionst 
that come to us without our having provoked them. 
Sudden bereavement, undeserved loss of a job, unexpected 
illness, the heartless breaking off of an engagement, 
these things often make a man or a woman very bitter, 
both towards their fellow men and towards God. Why 
has this happened to them? What have they done to 
deserve this? Notice one thing first. The people who 
complain in this way have not in the past, when every- 
thing was going smoothly, asked the question, What have 
I done to deserve all this good fortune, these blessings of 
a good home and loving friends, and a decent job?' 
They have taken all that as a matter of course; it was 
only right that they should be treated like that. I know 
that I, who have been called upon to suffer very little 
indeed, easily fall into this self-centred and ungrateful 
state of mind. Do you see that it all springs from a wrong 
idea of God? If I expect the world to be governed with 
a view to my convenience and for my comfort, I am 
turning God into someone who exists just for my benefit. 
I have forgotten that the truth is that I exist to promote 
His glory: He does not exist to promote mine. I have been 
taught to pray, 'Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom 
come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. 5 
But if I expect my life to be a bed of roses, it is clear that 
the prayer of my heart is, 'Hallowed be MY name, MY 
kingdom come, MY will be done/ You know, the fool 
who says in his heart, There is no God, probably says 
I believe in God, with his lips. It's what the heart says 
that matters, every time. 

But there is another wrong attitude which we some- 
times take up, when we feel we have been wrong in 
expecting all beer and skittles. We try to tell ourselves, 
or our friends, especially our friends, that these disasters 


are sent to try us, or that they are all for the best, or 
that they are blessings in disguise. Now this sounds a 
very religious attitude to take up, and, as we shall see, 
there is an element of truth in it. But as it stands, it is 
quite unchristian. Is the death of your baby any sort of 
blessing ? Is it not rather thoroughly evil ? Can we really 
imagine the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ sending 
disasters in order to try us? A thousand times, no! 
Such an attitude rests on the entirely unchristian belief 
that this is the best of all possible worlds. Christianity 
teaches that sin has spoilt the world, and that the work of 
Christ consists just in bringing the world back to God 
out of the power of evil. Many things, therefore, happen 
in the world which are quite certainly not in accordance 
with the will of God. It is therefore blasphemous to call 
such unhappy occurrences a blessing in disguise, or to say 
that it is all for the best. 

But the truth of the matter lies in this, that though the 
disaster which takes place may be entirely evil and con- 
trary to the will of God, yet it is possible to bring good 
out of it. This is most clearly seen in the crucifixion of 
our Lord Himself. No action could be more completely 
evil and opposed to God's will than the death of Jesus; 
it marked the victory of the forces of darkness. Yet the 
crucifixion marks the utter defeat of the powers of dark- 
ness, and the Cross has been productive of the greatest 
good : by it mankirid is reconciled to God. But that does 
not make the crucifixion any the less evil and vile; 
what we must lay to heart is that even the most evil and 
most vile can be miraculously made to produce good, 
if only they are willingly accepted by the sufferer. Jesus 
shrank from pain, as we or anyone else shrinks from pain, 
but finding that the Father's will was that He should 
endure it, He accepted it willingly, for He knew that it 


would bring salvation to the world. Tor the joy that \vas 
set before Him' He 'endured the cross, despising the 
shame.' He suffered all that evil could inflict, and never 
stopped loving. Now what is true of Jesus must be true 
of us. 'Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ 
Jesus'; we too, if we must suffer, must suffer gladly, 
because that very acceptance of suffering robs the suffer- 
ing of its evil effects. It was Coleridge who said, 'What 
we must do, let us love to do. It is a noble chemistry that 
turns necessity into pleasure. 5 It is a hard lesson, but 
it is the lesson of the Cross. How blessed are those who 
have learnt it! I could speak of a French lady who died 
in 1914, whose whole life was one of suffering. Her 
husband was a violent atheist all her life, but she never 
ceased to pray for him, and to ask that her sufferings 
and death might be so united with the Saviour's that 
they might avail for his conversion. And so it happened. 
After her death her husband came across her private 
diary, in which the heroic sanctity of her soul was at last 
revealed to him; he confessed his sins and became a 
fervent Christian. It reminds me of a saying I heard 
recently: Tain resented is hell: pain conquered is power.' 
Or again, I have just been reading in a Church paper 
of the death of a priest. He was for some years an electrical 
engineer in a well-paid job. His only son died unexpectedly 
while at his public school. Did this embitter him, 
and make him cry out against the injustice of God? No. 
Tor him this severe blow marked but a new phase of 
his self-consecration. He resolved to offer himself for 
the place in the Ministry to which his son had been 
looking forward; and laying down the good position which 
he had achieved as an electrical engineer/ he went to a 
Theological College and was himself ordained. This 


severe blow marked but a new phase of his self-consecra- 
tion.' Is it in that spirit that we bear trouble? 

Listen to some words from The Imitation of Christ : 

'If thou carry the cross cheerfully, it will carry 
thee. ... If thou carry it unwillingly, thou makest for 
thyself a burden, and addest to thy load : and yet thou 
must bear. If there had been any thing better and 
more profitable to man's salvation than suffering, 
Christ would surely have shown it by word and example.' 

Did Simon of Gyrene bear the Cross of Jesus willingly 
or unwillingly? At first, as I have said, I think he hated 
the task, but after the first shock he accepted it philo- 
sophically, and then, when he had had time to observe 
the dignified and patient calm of Jesus, he accepted it 
gladly. Why do I think that? Well, when St. Mark 
tells the story, he describes Simon of Gyrene as being "the 
father of Alexander and Rufus.' The Christians at Rome 
for whom he was writing must have known Alexander 
and Rufus, and I notice that when St. Paul sent his 
letter to Rome, he added greetings to Rufus and his 
mother. It's clear that they were Christians, and I like 
to think that the conversion of that family began with that 
carrying of the Cross by the father, Simon, on Good Friday. 
He was the first-fruits of the fulfilment of our Lord's 
prophecy, C I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.' 

Archbishops at*, ^f shops 

The Bishop of LonC - 

i . Bishop of Llandaff 

The Aiclibishop of York 

The Archbishop of Dublin 

The Bishop of Bristol 
The Presiding Bishop of 

the Episcopal Church 

The AicLuishop of Cape Town 

The Bishop of Nebraska 

The Bishop of Arkansas 

The Bishop of Leicester 

The Executive Officer of the 

Anglican Communion 


Henry Chadwick 

Austin Farrer 

J. E. Fison 

Nicholas Graham, C.R. 

Darwin Kirby 

J. B. McCausland, S.S J.E. 

Kenneth N. Ross 

Charles Smyth 

Peter K, Walker 

H, A. Williams 

Jacket designed by Christopher Gentle 

Photograph by Dwtght Nichols 

Greek inscriptions on the Good Friday 

Cross at "Hitlspeak" are translated: 

"The King of the Jews . . . And he was 

numbered with the transgressors" 

i 3 

1 34 697